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Gambetta proclaiming the Republic of France. 
From the painting by Howard Pyle. 









COPYRIGHT, 1898, 1905, 1906, BY 




Early Conditions in Gaul, ...... i 

Julius Cesar's Conquest of Gaul Lutetia, . .10 


Birth of Christianity Its Dissemination Its Es- 
pousal by the Roman Empire Hunnish In- 
vasion, 15 


The Frank in Gatil Clovis Rois-Paineants 
Charles Martel Mahomet an ism Pepiii Seizes 
the Crown, ........ 24 





Charlemagne Holy Roman Empire Treaty of 

Verdun, .... ... 36 


Invasions by Northmen Normandy Given to In- 
vaders Feudalism Decline of Kingship 
Ascendancy of the Church Hugh Capet 
"Truce of God" William the Conqueror, , 44 


Social Structure of France Free Cities Their 
Creation and Enfranchisement The Crusades 
Philip Augustus War with King John of 
England Toulouse and the Albigensian War, 56 


Abelard Louis IX. End of Crusades Philip III. 
Philip IV. and Papacy Creation of States- 
General Popes at Avignon Knights Tem- 
plar Exterminated Change in Succession, . 68 


Edward III. Claims French Throne Crecy Poi- 
tiers Treaty of Bretigny Charles V. and 
Bertrand du Guesclin Death of Black Prince 
Charles VI. A Mad King Feud Between 
Houses of Orleans and Burgundy Siege of 
Orleans Joan of Arc Charles VII. , . .79 




Standing Army Created Louis XI. The Passing 
of Medievalism Charles VIII. Invasion of 
Italy Louis XII. Francis I. Struggle for 
Throne of the German Empire The Reforma- 
tion, . . .96 


The House of Guise Marie Stiiart Francis II. 
His Death Regency of Catharine de' Medici 
Her Designs Coligny Henry of Navarre 
His Marriage Charles IX. St. Bartholo- 
mew's Eve Henry III. His Death Henry 
of Navarre King, . . . . . .113 


Edict of Nantes Ravaillac Louis XIII. Re- 
gency of Maria de' Medici Richelieu The 
Fronde, ........ 130 


Louis XIV. Four Great Wars Revocation of 
Edict of Nantes A Victorious Coalition 
Death of Louis XIV. Louis XV., . . . 145 


John Law Life at Versailles Marriage of Dau- 
phin Unseen Currents Approaching Crisis 
Death of Louis XV., ,. 161 




Louis XVI. American Revolution Turgot 
Necker States-General Summoned National 
Assembly Destruction of Bastille Revo- 
lution Lafayette Varennes The Temple 
Triumphant Jacobins Execution of the King 
Charlotte Corday Execution of Queen 
Fate of the Dauphin Girondists Philippe 
Egalite Revolution Ended, . . . .174 


France a Republic Napoleon Bonaparte Break- 
ing Chains in Italy Carnpo Formio Campaign 
in Egypt An Empire Rapid Steps from Tou- 
lon to Versailles A New Map of Europe Maria 
Louisa Moscow Leipsic Elba, . . . 


Louis XVIII. Return of Napoleon Waterloo 
St. Helena Bourbon Restoration Charles X. 
Louis Philippe Revolution Second Re- 
public Louis Napoleon, ..... 216 


Second French Republic The Coup d'Etat Na- 
poleon III. A " Liberator " in Italy Peace of 
Villafranca Suez Canal An Empire in Mex- 
ico Franco-Prussian War Sedan, . . .228 




Third French Republic The CommuneThe Ger- 
mans in Paris Reconstruction from Thiers to 
Loubet Affaire Dreyfus Law of Associations 
Separation of Church and State Conference 
at Algeciras Election of M. Fallieres Con- 
clusion, ........ 242 


Gambetta proclaiming- the Republic of France 



Coronation of Charlemagne 38 

Burning of Joan of Arc at Rouen, May 30, 1431 92 

Napoleon at the Battle of Rivoli, January 14, 

1797 204 

Josephine crowned Empress, December 2, 1804, 

in Notre Dame Cathedral 214 

The Revolution of July 28, 1830 .... 222 



ONE of the greatest achievements of modern 
research is the discovery of a key by which we 
may determine the kinship of nations. What 
we used to conjecture, we now know. An 
identity in the structural form of language es- 
tablishes with scientific certitude that however 
diverse their character and civilizations, Rus- 
sian, German, Englishman, Frenchman, Span- 
iard, are all but branches from the same parent 
stem, are all alike children of the Asiatic 

So skilful are modern methods of question- 
ing the past, and so determined the effort to 
find out its secrets, we may yet know the origin 
and history of this wonderful Asiatic people, 
and when and why they left their native con- 
tinent and colonized upon the northern shores 


of the Mediterranean. Certain it is, however, 
that, more centuries before the Christian era 
than there have been since, they had peopled 
Western Europe. 

This branch of the Aryan family is known as 
the Keltic, and was older brother to the Teuton 
and Slav, which at a much later period followed 
them from the ancestral home, and appropri- 
ated the middle and eastern portions of the 
European Continent. 

The name of Gaul was given to the territory 
lying between the Ocean and the Mediter- 
ranean, and the Pyrenees and the Alps. And 
at a later period a portion of Northern Gaul, 
and the islands lying north of it, received from 
an invading chieftain and his tribe the name 
Brit or Britain (or Pryd or Prydain). 

If the mind could be carried back on the 
track of time, and we could see what we now 
call France as it existed twenty centuries before 
the Christian era, we should behold the same 
natural features: the same mountains rearing 
their heads; the same rivers 'flowing to the sea; 
the same plains stretching out in the sunlight 
But instead of vines and flowers and cultivated 
fields we should behold great herds of wild ox 


and elk, and of swine as fierce as wolves, rang- 
ing in a climate as cold as Norway; and vast, 
inaccessible forests, the home of beasts of prey, 
which contended with man for food and shelter. 

Let us read Guizofs description of life in 
Gaul five centuries before Christ : 

" Here lived six or seven millions of men a 
bestial life, in dwellings dark and low, built of 
wood and clay and covered with branches or 
straw, open to daylight by the door alone and 
confusedly heaped together behind a rampart 
of timber, earth, and stone, which enclosed and 
protected what they were pleased to call a 
town! 3 

Such was the Paris and such the Frenchmen 
of the age of Pericles! And the same tides 
that washed the sands of Southern Gaul, a few 
hours later ebbed and flowed upon the shores 
of Greece rich in culture, with refinements 
and subtleties in art which are the despair of 
the world to-day with an intellectual endow- 
ment never since attained by any people. 

The same sun which rose upon temples and 
palaces and life serene and beautiful in Greece, 
an hour later lighted sacrificial altars and hid- 
eous orgies in the forests of Gaul. While the 


Gaul was nailing the heads of human victims 
to his door, or hanging them from the bridle 
of his horse, or burning or flogging his pris- 
oners to death, the Greek, with a literature, an 
art, and a civilization in ripest perfection, dis- 
cussed with his friends the deepest problems 
of life and destiny, which were then baffling 
human intelligence, even as they are with us to- 
day. Truly we of Keltic and Teuton descent 
are late-comers upon the stage of national 

There was no promise of greatness in an- 
cient Gaul. It was a great, unregulated force, 
rushing hither and thither. Impelled by in- 
satiate greed for the possessions of their neigh- 
bors, there was no permanence in their loves 
or their hatreds. The enemies of to-day were 
the allies of to-morrow. Guided entirely by 
the fleeting desires and passions of the moment, 
with no far-reaching plans to restrain, the sixty 
or more tribes composing the Gallic people 
were in perpetual state of feud and anarchy, 
apparently insensible to the ties of brotherhood, 
which give concert of action, and stability in 
form of national life. If they overran a neigh- 
boring country, it seemed not so much for per- 


manent acquisition, as to make it a camping- 
ground until its resources were exhausted. 

We read of one Massillia who came with a 
colony of Greeks long ages ago, and after 
founding the city of Marseilles, created a nar- 
row, bright border of Greek civilization along 
the southern edge of the benighted land. It 
was a brief illumination, lasting only a century 
or more, and leaving few traces; but it may 
account for the superior intellectual quality 
w T hich later distinguished Provence, the home 
of minstrelsy. 

It requires a vast extent of territory to sus- 
tain a people living by the chase, and upon 
herds and flocks; hence the area which now 
amply maintains forty millions of Frenchmen 
was all too small for six or seven million Gauls ; 
and they were in perpetual struggle with their 
neighbors for land more land. 

" Give us land/ 7 they said to the Romans, 
and when land was denied them and the gates 
of cities disdainfully closed upon their mes- 
sengers, not land, but vengeance, was their cry ; 
and hordes of half-naked barbarians trampled 
down the vineyards, and rushed, a tumultuous 
torrent, upon Rome. 


The Romans could not stand before this new 
and strange kind of warfare. The Gauls 
streamed over the vanquished legions into the 
Eternal City, silent and deserted save only by 
the Senate and a few who remained intrenched 
in the Citadel; and there the barbarians kept 
them besieged for seven months, while they 
made themselves at home amid uncompre- 
hended luxuries. 

Of course Roman skill and courage at last 
dislodged and drove them back. But the fact 
remained that the Gaul had been there mas- 
ter of Rome ; that the iron-clad legions had been 
no match for his naked force, and a new sen- 
sation thrilled through the length and breadth 
of Gaul. It was the first throb of national life. 
The sixty or more fragments drew closer to- 
gether into something like Gallic unity with 
a common danger to meet, a common foe to 
drive back. 

Hereafter there was another hunger to be 
appeased besides that for food and land; a 
hunger for conquest, for vengeance, and for 
glory for the Gallic name. National pride was 

For years they hovered like wolves about 


Rome. But skill and superior intelligence tell 
in the centuries. It took long and cost no 
end of blood and treasure; but two hundred 
years from the capture of Rome, the Gauls 
were driven out of Italy, and the Alps pro- 
nounced a barrier set by nature herself against 
barbarian encroachments. 

Italy was not the only country suffering 
from the destroying footsteps of the Western 
Kelts. There had been long before an overflow 
of a tribe in Northern Gaul (the Kymrians), 
which had hewed and plundered its way south 
and eastward; until at the time of Alexander 
(B.C. 340) it was knocking at the gates of 

Stimulated by the success at Rome fifty years 
earlier, they were, with fresh insolence, de- 
manding " land," and during the centuries 
which followed, the Gallic name acquired no 
fresh lustre in Greece. Half-naked, gross, 
ferocious, and ignorant, sometimes allies, but 
always a scourge, they finally crossed the 
Hellespont (B.C. 278), and turned their atten- 
tion to Asia Minor. And there, at last, we 
find them settled in a province called Gallicia, 
where they lived without amalgamating with 


the people about them, and four hundred years 
after Christ were speaking the language of 
their tribal home in what is now Belgium. 
And these were the Galatians the " foolish 
Galatians," to whom Paul addressed his epistle; 
and we have followed up this Gallic thread 
simply because it mingles with the larger strand 
of ancient and sacred history with which we 
are all so familiar. 

It is not strange that Roman courage became 
a byword. The fibre of Rome was toughened 
by perpetual strain of conflict. Even while 
she was struggling with Gaul and with the 
memories of the Carthaginian wars still fresh 
at Rome, the Goths were at her gates their 
blows directed with a solidity superior to that 
of the barbarians who had preceded them. 
Where the Gauls had knocked, the Goths thun- 

Again the city was invaded by barbarian 
feet, and again did superior training and in- 
telligence drive back the invading torrent and 
triumph over native brute force. 

Such, in brief outline, was the condition of" 
the centuries just before the Christian era. 


It is easy now to read the meaning of these 
agitated centuries, and to recognize the prepa- 
ration for the passing of the old and the com- 
ing of the new. 


THE making of a nation is not unlike bread 
or cake making. One element is used as the 
basis, to which are added other component 
parts, of varying qualities, and the result we 
call England, or Germany, or France. The 
steps by which it is accomplished, the blending 
and fusing of the elements, require centuries, 
and the process makes what we call history. 

It was written in the book of fate that Gaul 
should become a great nation; but not until 
fused and interpenetrated with two other na- 
tionalities. She must first be humanized and 
civilized by the Roman, and then energized and 
made free from the Roman by the Teuton. 

The instrument chosen for the former was 
Julius Ccesar, and for the latter five centuries 
later Clovis, the Prankish leader. 

It is safe to affirm that no man has ever so 
changed the course of human events as did 
Julius Cassar. Napoleon, who strove to imi- 
tate him 1800 years later, was a charlatan in 


comparison; a mere scene-shifter on a great 
theatrical stage. Few traces of his work re- 
main upon humanity to-day. 

Caesar opened up a pathway for the old civili- 
zations of the world to flow into Western 
Europe, and the sodden mass of barbarism was 
infused with a life-compelling current. This 
was not accomplished by placing before the in- 
ferior race a higher ideal of life for imitation, 
but by a mingling of the blood of the nations 
a transfusion into Gallic veins of the germs 
of a higher living and thinking thus making 
them heirs to the great civilizations of antiquity. 

Was any human event ever fraught with 
such consequences to the human race as the con- 
quest of Gaul by Julius Caesar ? 

The Gallic wars had for centuries drained 
the treasure and taxed the resources of Rome. 
Caesar conceived the audacious Idea of stopping 
them at their source in fact, of making Gaul 
a Roman province. 

It was a marvellous exhibition, not simply 
of force, but of force wielded by supreme in- 
telligence and craft. He had lived many years 
among this people and knew their sources of 
weakness, their internal jealousies and rivalries. 


their incohesiveness. When they hurled them- 
selves against Rome, it was as a mass of sharp 
fragments. When the Goths did the same, it 
was as one solid, indivisible body. Caesar saw 
that by adroit management he could disinte- 
grate this people while conquering them. 

By forcibly maintaining in power those who 
submitted to him, being by turns gentle and 
severe, ingratiating here, terrifying there, he 
established a tremendous personal force; and 
during nine years carried on eight campaigns, 
marvels in the art of war, as well as in the 
subtler methods of negotiation and intrigue. 
He had successively dealt with all the Keltic 
tribes, even including Great Britain, subjugat- 
ing either through their own rivalries, or by 
his invincible arm. 

Equally able to charm and to terrify, he had 
all the gifts, all the means to success and em- 
pire, that can be possessed by man. Great in 
politics as in war, as full of resource in the 
forum as on the battle-field, he was by nature 
called to dominion. 

It was not as a patriot, simply intent upon 
freeing Rome of an harassing enemy, that he 
endured those nine years In Gaul; not as a 


great leader burning with military ardor that 
he conducted those eight campaigns. The con- 
quest of Gaul meant the greater conquest of 
Rome. The one was accomplished; he now 
turned his back upon the devastated country, 
and prepared to complete his great project of 
human ascendency. 

Rome was mistress of the world ; he would 
be master of Rome. 

In the early days of the conquest of Gaul a 
small island lying in the river Seine was chosen 
for the residence of the Roman Governors, and 
called Lutetia. The residence soon grew into 
the Palace of the Caesars; and then bridges 
spanned the river, and roads and aqueducts 
and faubourgs sprang into existence across the 
Seine, and Lutetia was swallowed up in Paris 
so named for a Gallic tribe, the Parisii, which 
had once encamped there. Standing within 
the Palais de Justice on this island to-day, one 
is in direct touch with Rome when she was mis- 
tress of the world. The feet of the Csesars 
have pressed those stones. Those vaulted ceil- 
ings have looked down upon Julian the Apos- 
tate; he who upon his throne in the far East 
sighed for " Lutetia " his " dear Lutetia." 


At Passy and Montmartre, and where stands 
the Palais Royal, rich Romans had their subur- 
ban homes, and Roman legions were encamped 
where are now the Palais de Luxembourg and 
the Sorbonne. And with a mingling of Keltic 
and Latin, there had commenced a new form 
of human speech. 

Not Paris alone, but all of Gaul felt the awak- 
ening touch of a great civilization, and with 
improved ideals in living there .came another 
great advance. The human sacrifices and ab- 
horrent practices of the Druidical faith were 
abandoned, and Jupiter and Minerva and the 
gods of Parnassus supplanted the grim deities 
of a more ancient mythology. But while Rome 
was a powerful teacher, she was a cruel mis- 
tress and shackles were galling to these free 
barbarians. In the midst of universal misery 
there came tidings of something better than the 
gods of Parnassus, when in A.D. 160 Irenaeus 
came to Lyons and there established the first 
Church of Christ ; and here it was that Marcus 
Aurelius ordered the persecution which was 
intended to stamp out the new and fanatical 


WHILE the Star of Empire was thus moving 
toward the West, another and brighter star had 
arisen in the East. So accustomed are we to 
the story, that we lose all sense of wonder at 
its recital. 

Julius Caesar's brief triumph was over. 
Marc Antony had recited his virtues over his 
bier, Rome had wept, and then forgotten him 
in the absorbing splendors of his nephew Au- 
gustus. In an obscure village of an obscure 
country in Asia Minor the young wife of a 
peasant finds shelter in a stable, and gives birth 
to a son, who is cradled in the straw of a 
manger from which the cattle are feeding. 

Can the mind conceive of human circum- 
stances more lowly? The child grew to man- 
hood, and in his thirty-three years of life was 
never lifted above the obscure sphere into which 
he was born; never spoke from the vantage- 
ground of worldly elevation; simply moving 


among people of his own station in life, me- 
chanics, fishermen, and peasants, he told of a 
religion of love, a gospel of peace, for which 
he was willing to die. 

Who would have dreamed that this was the 
germ of the most potent, the most regener- 
ative force the world had ever known ? That 
thrones, empires, principalities, and powers 
would melt and crumble before His name? 
Of all miracles, is not this the greatest? 

The passionate ardor with which this re- 
ligion was propagated in the first two centuries 
had no motive but the yearning to make others 
share in its benefits and hopes ; and to this end 
to accept the belief that Jesus Christ had come 
in fulfilment of the promise of a Saviour who 
should be sent to this world clothed with 
divine authority to establish a spiritual king- 
dom, in which he was King of kings, Lord of 
lords, Meditator between us and the Father, 
of whom he was the " only begotten Son." 

The religion in its essence was absolutely 
simple. Its founder summed it up in two sen- 
tences: expressing the duty of man to man, 
and of man to God. That was all the theol- 
ogy he formulated. 


For two centuries the religion of Christ was 
an elemental spiritual force. It appealed only 
to the highest attributes and longings of the 
human soul, and under its sustaining influence 
frail women, men, and even children were able 
to endure tortures, of which we cannot read 
even now without shuddering horror. 

Nature's method of gardening is very beau- 
tiful She carefully guards the seed until it is 
ripe, then she bursts the imprisoning Avails and 
gives it to the winds to distribute. Precisely 
such method was used in disseminating Chris- 
tianity. It was not for one people it was for 
the healing of the nations, and its home was 
wherever man abides. 

Nearly five decades after Christ's death upon 
the cross, Jerusalem was destroyed by Titus. 
The home of Christianity was effaced. At just 
the right moment the enclosing walls had 
broken, and freed to the winds the germs in all 
their primitive purity. 

Imperial favor had not tarnished it, human 
ambitions had not employed and degraded it, 
nor had it been made into complex system by 
ingenious casuists. The pure spiritual truth, 


unsullied as it came from the hand of its 
founder, was scattered broadcast, as the band 
of Christians dispersed throughout the Roman 
Empire, naturally forming into communities 
here and there, which became the centres of 
Christian propagandism. Lyons in Gaul was 
such a centre. 

The fires of persecution had been lighted 
here and there throughout the empire, and the 
Emperor Nero, under whom the Apostles Peter 
and Paul are said to have suffered martyrdom, 
had amused himself by making torches of the 
Christians at Rome. But until A.D. 177 Gaul 
was exempt from sucli horrors. 

Marcus Aurelius that peerless pagan 
large in intelligence, exalted in character, and 
guided by a conscientious rectitude which has 
made his name shine like a star in the lurid light 
of Roman history, still failed utterly to compre- 
hend the significance of this spiritual kingdom 
established by Christ on earth. He it was who 
ordered the first persecution in Gaul. In pur- 
suance of his command, horrible tortures were 
inflicted at Lyons upon those who would not 
abjure the new faith. 


A letter, written by an eye-witness, pictures 
with terrible vividness the scenes which fol- 
lowed. Many cases are described with harrow- 
ing detail, and of one Blandina it is said: 
" From morn till eve they put her to all man- 
ner of torture, marvelling that she still lived 
with her body pierced through and through 
and torn piecemeal by so many tortures, of 
which a single one should have sufficed to kill 
her; to which she only replied, ' I am a Chris- 
tian/ " 

The recital goes on to tell how she was then 
cast into a dungeon her feet compressed and 
dragged out to the utmost tension of the mus- 
cles then left alone in darkness until new 
methods of torture could be devised. 

Finally she was brought, with other Chris- 
tians, into the amphitheatre, hanging from a 
cross to w r hich she was tied, and there thrown 
to the beasts. As the beasts refused to touch 
her she was taken back to the dungeon to be 
reserved for another occasion, being brought 
out daily to witness the fate and suffering of 
her friends and fellow-martyrs ; still answering 
the oft-repeated question, " I am a Christian." 

The writer goes on to say, " After she had 


undergone fire, the talons of beasts, and every 
agony which could be thought of, she was 
wrapped In a network and thrown to a bull, 
who tossed her in the air " and her sufferings 
were ended. 

Truly it cost something to say " I am a Chris- 
tian " in those clays. 

Marcus Aurelius probably gave orders for 
the persecution at Lyons, with little knowledge 
of what would be the nature of those persecu- 
tions, or of the religion he was trying to ex- 
terminate. Some of the hours spent in writing 
introspective essays would have been well em- 
ployed in studying* the period in which he lived, 
and the empire he ruled. 

Paganism and Druidism, those twin mon- 
sters, receded before the advancing light of 
Christianity. Neither contained anything which 
could nourish the soul of man, and both had 
become simply badges of nationality. 

Druidism was the last stronghold of inde- 
pendent Gallic life. It was a mixture of north- 
ern myth and oriental dreams of metempsycho- 
sis, coarse, mystical, and cruel. The Roman 
paganism which was superimposed by the con- 
quering race was the mere shell of a once vital 


religion. Educated men had long ceased to 
believe In the gods and divinities of Greece, and 
it is said that the Roman augurs, while giving 
their solemn prophetic utterances, could not 
look at each other without laughing. 

In the year 312 alas for Christianity! it 
was espoused by imperial power. When the 
Emperor Constantine declared himself a Chris- 
tian, there was no doubt rejoicing among the 
saints ; but it was the beginning of the degen- 
eracy of the religion of Christ. The faith of 
the humble was to be raised to a throne; its 
lowly garb to be exchanged for purple and scar- 
let ; the gospel of peace to be enforced by the 

The empire was crumbling, and upon its 
ruins the race of the future and social condi- 
tions of modern times were forming. Pagan- 
ism and Druidism would have been an im- 
possibility. Christianity, even with its lustre 
dimmed, its purity tarnished, its simplicity 
overlaid with scholasticism, was better than 
these. The miracle had been accomplished. 
The great Roman Empire had said, "I am 


A belief in the gods of Parnassus, which 
Rome had imposed upon Gaul, had now become 
a heresy to be exterminated. If fires were 
lighted at Lyons or elsewhere, they were for 
the extermination not of Christians, but of 
pagans, and of all who would depart from the 
religion of Christ as interpreted by Rome. It 
was a death-bed repentance for the cruel old 
empire, a repentance which might delay, but 
could not avert a calamitous ending, and an un- 
expected event was near at hand which would 
hasten the coming of the end. 

It was in the year A.D. 375 that the Huns, 
a terrible race of beings, came out from that 
then mysterious but now historic region, lying 
between China and Russia, and surged into 
Europe under the leadership of Attila, sweep- 
ing before them as they came Goths, Vandals, 
and other Teutonic races, as if with a pre- 
determined purpose of forcing the uncivilized 
Teuton into the lap of a perishing civilization 
in the south. Then having accomplished this, 
after the defeat of Attila at Chalons in A.D. 
453, they disappeared forever as a race from 
the stage of human events. 

This is the time when Paris was saved by 


Genevieve, the poor sheperdess, who, like an 
early Joan of Arc, awoke the people from the 
apathy of despair, and led them to victory and 
is rewarded by an immortality as " Saint Gene- 
vieve/' the patron saint of Paris. It would 
seem that the vigilance of the gentle saint has 
either slept or been unequal to the task of pro- 
tecting her city at times ! 

It was the combined forces of the Goth and 
the Frank which drove this scourge out of 
Europe. Meroveus, or Meroveg, the leader of 
the Franks in this great achievement, once the 
terror of the Gallic people, was now their de- 
liverer. He had won the gratitude of all 
classes, from bishops to slaves, throughout 
Gaul, and fate had thus opened wide a door 
leading into the future of that land. 


GAUL had been Latinized and Christianized* 
Now one more thing was needed to prepare her 
for a great future. Her fibre was to be tough- 
ened by the infusion of a stronger race. Julius 
Csssar had shaken her into submission, and 
Rome had chastised her into decency of be- 
havior and speech, but as her manners improved 
her native vigor declined. She took kindly to 
Roman luxury and effeminacy, and could no 
longer have thundered at the gates of her neigh- 
bors demanding " land." 

The despotism of a perishing Roman Em- 
pire had become intolerable ; and the thoughts 
of an overtaxed and enslaved people turned 
naturally to the Franks. They had rescued 
them from one terrible fate, might they not de- 
liver them from another? And so it came 
about that the young savage Chlodoveg, or 
Clovis, grandson of Meroveus, found himself 


master of the fair land long coveted beyond 
the Rhine; and Gaul and Roman alike were 
submerged beneath the Teuton flood, while 
Clovis, sitting in the Palace of the Caesars, on 
the island in the Seine, was wearing the kingly 
crown, and independent and dynastic life had 
commenced in what was hereafter to be not 
Gaul, but France. 

But the king of whom she had dreamed was 
of her own race ; not this terrible Frank. Had 
she exchanged one servitude for another? 
Had she been, not set free, but simply annexed 
to the realm of the barbarian across the Rhine? 
Let us say rather that it was an espousal. She 
had brought her dowry of beauty and " land," 
that most coveted of possessions, and had 
pledged obedience, for which she was to be 
cherished, honored, and protected, and to bear 
the name of her lord. 

It will be well not to examine too closely the 
conversion of Clovis to Christianity, any more 
than that of Constantine to the religion of 
Christ, or that of Henry VIII. to Protestantism. 
The only thing Clovis wanted of the gods was 
aid in destroying his enemies. At a certain 
dark moment, when the pagan deities failed 


him, and the tide of battle was turning against 
him, in desperation he offered to become a 
Christian, if the God of the Christians would 
save him. He kept his word. His victory 
was followed by Christian baptism, and the 
Church had won a great defender, whose fero- 
cious instincts were thereafter to be directed 
toward the extermination of unbelievers. And 
while hewing and consolidating and bringing 
his kingdom into form, whether by treacheries 
or intrigues or assassination, this converted 
Frank was not alone defender of the faith, 
but of the orthodox faith. The Visigoth king- 
dom in Spain was given over to that heresy 
known as Arianism! So in a crusade, like 
another of a later date, he swept them over 
beyond the Pyrenees, thus establishing a fron- 
tier which always remained. 

Such were the rough beginnings of France^ 
geographically and historically. 

Ancient heroes are said to be seen through 
a shadowy lens, which magnifies their stature. 
Let us hope that the crimes of the three or four 
generations immediately succeeding Clovis have 
been in like manner expanded ; for it is sicken- 
ing to read of such monstrous prodigality of 


wickedness ; whole families butchered hus- 
bands, wives, children, anything obstructing 
the path to the throne with an atrocity which 
makes Richard III. seem a mere pigmy in the 
art of intrigue and killing. The chapter closes 
with the daughter and mother of kings (Bran- 
hilde or Brunhaut), naked, and tied by one arm, 
one leg, and her hair to the tail of an unbroken 
horse, and amid jeers and shouts dashed over 
the stones of Paris (A.D. 600). 

Upon the death of Clovis his inheritance was 
divided among four sons, who, with their wives 
and families and their tempestuous passions, 
afforded material for a great epic. Whether 
Fredegunde or Brunhilde was the more terrible 
who can say? But the story of these rival 
queens, with their loves and their hatreds and 
their ambitious, vengeful fury, is more like the 
story of demons than of women. But these 
conditions led to two results which played a 
great part in subsequent events. One was the 
exclusion of women from the succession by the 
adoption of the Salic Law. Then, in order to 
curb the degeneracy or to reinforce the in- 
efficiency of the hereditary ruler, there was 
created the office of Maire du Palais, a modest 


title which contained the germ of the future, 
not alone of France, but of the world. 

To imperfect human vision it would have 
seemed at the time a fatal mistake to bury out 
of sight the refinements which a Latin civiliza- 
tion had been for nearly five centuries planting 
in Gaul. But so often has this been repeated 
in the history of the world, one is compelled 
to recognize it as a part of the evolutionary 
method. Again and again have we seen old. 
civilizations effaced by barbarians. But these 
barbarians with their coarseness and brutality 
have usually brought something better than re- 
finement ; a spirit so transforming, so vitalizing, 
that we are compelled to believe it was the end 
sought in the catastrophe we deplore: that is, 
a spirit of liberty, a sense of personal inde- 
pendence, without which the refinements of 
art, even reinforced by genius, are unavailing. 
Such was undoubtedly the invigorating leaven 
brought into Gaul by the Frank, although for 
a time he succumbed to the enervating Gallic 
influence, and, while conquering and subduing, 
was himself conquered and subdued. 

The cultivated Roman in his toga appealed 
to the imagination of the fine barbarian; the 


habits of the Romanized cities were a tempt- 
ing model for imitation. Bridges, aqueducts, 
palaces, with their splendid mingling of strength 
and beauty, fragments of which still linger to 
convince us of our inferiority, these were awe- 
inspiring to the Frank and filled him with long- 
ings to drink deep at this fountain of civiliza- 
tion. The heroic strain brought by Clovis was 
quickly enfeebled and debauched by luxury. 
The court of the Merovingian king- became a 
miserable assemblage of half-Romanized bar- 
barians covered with the frayed and worn-out 
mantle of imperialism. It is a strange picture 
we have of this descendant of Clovis, this Roi 
Faineant (Do-nothing King) in a royal proces- 
sion on a state occasion. Curled and perfumed, 
he emerges from the Palais des Thermes, at- 
tended in great pomp by Romans and Roman- 
ized Prankish warriors. Then, in remembrance 
of the primitive simplicity of his ancestral line, 
sitting alone in a wagon drawn by bullocks, he 
leads the pageant through the narrow streets 
of old Paris. 

But while masquerading as a simple barba- 
rian he was only a poor imitator of the vices and 
dregs of a perishing civilization. But In proof 


that virility was still a characteristic of the 
Frank in Gaul, we are told that while the 
Church and the offices of State were filled by 
Romans or Gallo-Romans, the army at this 
time was composed entirely of Franks. 

With the degeneracy of these Rois Faineants 
the kingdom of Clovis was gradually shrink- 
ing, and men were already waiting to seize 
the power as it fell from incompetent hands. 
When Clovis made gifts of large estates to> 
reward, or to purchase, followers, Roman or 
Gallic, he laid the foundations of a system 
which would prove fatal to his successors. 
With these estates came titles and authority, 
multiplying and growing with each succeed- 
ing reign. A count, who was the chief officer 
of a county, was in fact the sovereign of a 
small state, and so on a smaller scale were 
a duke or a marquis. And it w r as to these 
smaller bodies that the power naturally gravi- 
tated as it vanished from the throne. 

This meant disintegration into helpless frag- 
ments, and this meant the end of a Frankish 
kingdom, unless some power should arise great" 
enough to compel the crumbling state to become 


It was a Romanized-Frankish family dwell- 
ing in the Valley of the Rhine which saved the 
kingdom of Clovis from this fate. France had 
already fallen apart into an eastern and a 
western kingdom, known respectively as Aus- 
trasia and Neustria. A certain Duke of Aus- 
trasia, known as Pepin the Elder, was the 
forerunner of the Carlovingian line of kings. 
With him the centralizing force began to work 
with saving power. The one end kept in view 
was the restoration of the power of kingship 
the strengthening of the power at the centre. 
To this end, from generation to generation, 
these early Pepins steadily moved. In 687 
Pepin the Younger, grandson of the Elder, 
by a victory at Testry over Neustria, brought 
together these two sundered divisions under 
himself, with the new title Duke of the Franks. 
The Pepins had already succeeded in making 
the office of Maire du Palais hereditary in their 
family, and in the year A.D. 732, Charles, son 
and successor of Pepin the Younger, made 
himself forever the hero not of France alone, 
but of Christendom, by driving the Saracen 
invasion back over the Pyrenees, and was in 
turn succeeded by his son, Pepin the Short, who 


seized the Merovingian crown itself; this re- 
markable family, the appointed channel for the 
centralizing forces, reaching its climax in his 
son Charlemagne, creator of a Holy Roman 

There had appeared an enemy to the true 
faith more to be feared than paganism. 

Less than one hundred years after the death 
of Clovis, there had come out of Asia, that 
birthplace of religions, a new faith, which was 
destined to be for centuries the scourge of 
Christendom, and which to-day rules one-third 
of the human family. Zoroaster, Buddha, 
Christ, had successively come with saving mes- 
sage to humanity, and now (A.D. 600) Ma- 
homet believed himself divinely appointed to 
drive out of Arabia the idolatry of ancient 
Magianism (the religion of Zoroaster). 

Christianity had passed through strange 
vicissitudes. Kings, emperors, popes, and 
bishops had been terrible custodians of its 
truths; and while many still held it in its primi- 
tive purity, ecclesiastics were fiercely fighting 
over the nature of the Trinity, the divinity of 
the Virgin Mother, and the Church was shaken 
to Its foundation by furious factions. 


In this hour of weakness the Persians (A.D. 
590) had conquered Asia Minor. Bethlehem, 
Gethsemane, and Calvary were profaned; the 
Holy Sepulchre had been burned, and the cross 
carried off amid shouts of laughter. Magias- 
ism had insulted Christianity, and no miracle 
had interposed! The heavens did not roll 
asunder, nor did the earth open her abysses to 
swallow them up. There was consternation 
and doubt in Christendom. 

Such was the state of the Church when Ma- 
hometanism came into existence. " There 
is but one God, and Mahomet is his Prophet." 
Such was its battle-cry and its creed, and the 
moral precepts of the Koran were its gospel. 
There seems nothing in this to account for the 
mad enthusiasm and the passion for worship 
in its followers. But in less than a hundred 
years this lion out of Arabia had subjugated 
Syria, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Northern Africa, 
and the Spanish Peninsula. Now, sword in 
one hand and the Koran in the other, the Ma- 
hometan had crossed the Pyrenees and was in 
Southern Gaul. 

Under the strange magic of this faith the 
largest religious empire the world had known 


had sprung into existence, stretching from the 
Chinese Wall to the Atlantic ; from the Caspian 
to the Indian Ocean; and Jerusalem, the me- 
tropolis of Christianity Jerusalem, the Mecca 
of the Christian was lost! The Crescent 
floated over the birthplace of our Lord, and, 
notwithstanding the temporary successes of the 
Crusades, it does to this day. 

If the Pyrenees were passed the very ex- 
istence of Christendom was threatened. Charles 
Martel, the grandfather of Charlemagne, 
averted this danger when he stayed the infidel 
flood at the battle of Tours, A.D. 732. 

The Merovingian kings, if not devout, were 
faithful sons of the Church, and when the pope 
appealed to the last Merovingian king to pro- 
tect him from the Lombards, near the end of 
the eighth century, Pepin, then Maire du Palais, 
but holding supreme power, twice crossed the 
Alps with an army, wrested five cities and a 
large extent of territory from the enemies of 
the pope, which, upon parting, he tossed as 
a gift into the lap of the Church. And this, 
known as the Donation of Pepin, was the 
beginning of the temporal power of the popes 
in Italy. So when Pepin resolved to assume 


the crown, Pope Zacharias in gratitude sanc- 
tioned the audacious act, by sending his repre- 
sentative to place the symbol of power upon the 
head of this faithful son and usurper! (A.D. 

But this was only the stepping-stone for a 
greater elevation. When Pope Adrian I. again 
needed protection from the Lombard, a greater 
than Pepin was wearing the crown his fathei 
.had audaciously snatched. 


AGAINST the dark background of European 
history, and with the broad level of obscurity 
stretching over the ages at its feet, there rises 
one shining pinnacle. Considered as man or 
sovereign, Charlemagne is one of the most im- 
pressive figures in history. His seven feet of 
stature clad in shining steel, his masterful grasp 
of the forces of his time, his splendid intelli- 
gence, instinct even then with the modern spirit, 
all combine to elevate him in solitary grandeur. 

Charlemagne found France in disorder meas- 
ureless, and apparently insurmountable. Bar- 
barian invasion without, and anarchy within; 
Saxon paganism pressing in upon the north, 
and Asiatic Islamism upon the south and west ; 
a host of forces struggling for dominion in a 
nation brutish, ignorant, and without cohesion. 

It is the attribute of genius to discern oppor- 
tunity where others see nothing. Charlemagne 


saw rising out of this chaos a great resuscitated 
Roman Empire, which should be at the same 
time a spiritual and Christian empire as well. 
Saxons, Slavs, Huns, Lombards, Arabs, came 
under his compelling grasp ; these antagonistic 
races all held together by the force of one 
terrible will, in unnatural combination with 
France. No political liberties, no popular as- 
semblies discussing public measures; it is 
Charlemagne alone who fills the picture; it is 
absolutism marked by prudence, ability, and 
grandeur, but still, absolutism. 

The pope looked approvingly upon this son 
of the Church, by whose order 4,500 pagan 
heads could be cut off in one day, and a whole 
army compelled to baptism in an afternoon. 
Here was a champion to be propitiated. 
Charlemagne, on the other hand, saw in the 
Church the most compliant and effective means 
to empire. 

His fertile mind was conceiving a vast de- 
sign by which he might reign over a resusci- 
tated Roman Empire. In the dual sovereignty 
of his dream, the pope was to be the spiritual 
and he the temporal head. Mutually dependent 
upon each other, the election of the pope would 


not be valid without his consent. Nor would 
the emperor be emperor until crowned by the 
pope. The Church might use him as a sword, 
but he would wear the Church as a precious 
j ewel in his crown. 

It was a splendid dream, splendidly realized; 
the most imposing of human successes, and the 
most impressive of human failures. It seems 
designed as a lesson for the human race in the 
transitory nature of power applied from with- 

A pyramid of such colossal proportions could 
only be kept from falling in pieces by another 
Colossus like himself. The vast fabric resting 
upon one human will, passed with its creator ; 
was gone like a shadow when he was gone. 

It will be remembered that the Roman Em- 
pire in its decay fell into two parts, a Western 
and an Eastern empire. The dying embers o 
the Western empire, which had been fanned 
into a feeble flame in the sixth century by Jus- 
tinian, Emperor of the East, were threatened 
with complete extinguishment by the Lom- 
bards in the eighth ; from which calamity they 
were saved, as we have seen, by Pepin. So 
when the Franks were again appealed to, 

From the painting by Levy. 

Coronation of Charlemagne. 


Charlemagne saw his opportunity. With 
plans fully matured he responded, and with the 
consent and acquiescence of the pope he took 
formal possession of the whole of Italy, annex- 
ing to his own dominions the crumbling wreck 
of a magnificent past. And when Leo III. 
placed upon his head the crown, and pro- 
nounced " Carolus-Magnus, by the grace of 
God Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire " 
(A.D. 800), the authority of the pope was placed 
upon unassailable heights, and France had 
become the centre of a world-wide dominion. 

Little did pope or emperor dream of what 
was to happen ; that after a brief and dazzling 
interlude the imperial crown would never be 
worn in France ; and that the popes would for 
centuries be insulted and treated as contuma- 
cious vassals by German emperors. And 
France France, the centre of this dream of a 
magnificent unity in less than fifty years, with 
her native incohesiveness, and in the irony of 
fate, would have broken into fifty-nine frag- 
ments, loosely held together by a feeble Carlo- 
vingian king. 

The plan of a dual sovereignty of pope and 
emperor might have been wise had both been 


immortal! But it was the triple division of 
the empire brought about by Charlemagne's 
three grandsons which overthrew the entire 
scheme of its founder. 

Upon the death of Charlemagne, in A.D. 814, 
the crown and the sceptre of the empire passed 
to his son Louis (the later form of Clovis). 
This feeble son of Charlemagne, known as 
Louis the Debonnaire, struggled under the 
weight of the crumbling mass until his death 
in 840. Then Charlemagne's three ambitious 
grandsons fought for the great inheritance. 
Lothaire, who claimed the whole by right of 
primogeniture, was defeated at the battle of 
Fontenay in Burgundy, and by the treaty of 
Verdun in 843 the partition of the empire was 
consummated; the title of emperor passing to 
Lothaire, the eldest, along with Italy and a strip 
of territory extending to the North Sea, all west 
of that being arbitrarily called France, and all 
east of it Germany. 

So the European drama was unfolding upon 
lines entirely unexpected. Not only had the 
empire fallen apart into three grand divisions, 
but France itself was disintegrating, was in 
fact a mass of rival states, with counts, princes, 


marquises, and a score of other petty potentates 
struggling for supremacy. 

The rough outlines of something greater than 
France the outlines of a future Europe were 
being drawn. It is easy to see now what was 
then so incomprehensible : that from the chaos 
of barbarism left by the Teuton flood, there 
were emerging in that ninth century a group of 
states with definite outlines, and the larger 
organism of Europe was coming into form. 
The treaty of Verdun (843) had roughly sepa- 
rated Italy, France, and Germany. At the same 
time the Heptarchy in Britain had been con- 
solidated into England under King Alfred; 
while an obscure Scandinavian adventurer 
named Rurik, quite unobserved, was bringing 
into political unity, and reigning at Kieff as 
Grand Duke over what was to become Rus- 
sia. Spain, quite apart from all this move- 
ment, had entered upon those seven centuries 
of struggle with Saracen and Moor, that 
struggle of unmatched devotion and tenacity 
of purpose which is really the great epic of 

Those ambitious and too powerful vassals 
were not the greatest evils menacing the Carlo- 


vingian kings. It was the incessant invasions 
of a race of barbarians coming out of the north, 
which was going to bury the past under a ruin 
of a different sort. There seemed no defence 
from these Northmen, as they were called, who 
swarmed like destroying insects upon the coast, 
up the rivers, and over the lands ; three times 
sacked Paris, the scars to-day being visible in 
that impressive Roman ruin, the Palais des 
Thcnncs, the home of the Caesars, and of 
the Merovingian kings, which they partially 

Fortified castles with towers and moats and 
drawbridges sprang up all over the kingdom 
for the protection of the rich. After seven in- 
vasions all the old cities, Rouen, Nantes, Bor- 
deaux, Toulouse, Orleans, Beauvais, had been 
devastated, and France in coat of mail was hid- 
ing behind stone walls. 

In looking through the vista of centuries it 
is easy to read the eternal purpose in the chain 
of cause and effect; and also to see that events, 
no less than kings, have their pedigrees. The 
terrible child of the Northman was the Feudal 
System; which was again the father of those 
romantic and picturesque children, the Cm- 


sades; and these, the creators of a European 
civilization, whose children \ve are ! 

Who can imagine the course of history with 
any one of these removed each an apparently 
inevitable step in the unfolding of a mighty de- 
sign, utterly incomprehensible at the time? 


SOMEONE has said that " the Lord must like 
common people, because he made so many of 
them." The path for the common people in 
France at this time led through heavy shadows. 
But a darker time was approaching. A sys- 
tem of oppression was maturing which was 
soon to envelop them in the obscurity of dark- 
est night. 

Those Scandinavian freebooters called 
Northmen, and later Normans, were the 
scourge of the kingdom. Nothing was safe 
from their insolent courage and rapacity. 

The rich could intrench themselves in stone 
fortresses, with moats and drawbridges, and 
be in comparative security, but the poor were 
utterly defenceless against this perennial de- 
stroyer. The result was a compact between the 
powerful and the weak, which was the begin- 
ning of the feudal system. It was in effect an 
exchange of protection for service and fealty. 



You give us absolute control of your persons 
your military service when required, and a 
portion of your substance and the fruit of your 
toil and we will in exchange give you our 
fortified castles as a refuge from the North- 
men. Such was the offer. It was a choice 
between vassalage, serfdom, or destruction out- 

Simple enough in its beginnings, this became 
a ramified system of oppression, a curious net- 
work of authority, ingeniously controlling an 
entire people. The conditions upon which was 
engrafted this compact were of great antiquity, 
had indeed been brought across the Rhine by 
the German conquerors ; but the Northmen were 
the impelling cause of the swift development 
of feudalism in France. 

Charlemagne had felt grave apprehensions 
of evil from these robber incursions, but could 
not have conceived of a result such as this, the 
most oppressive system ever fastened upon a 
nation, and one w r hich would at the same time 
sap the foundations of royalty itself. 

The theory was that the king was absolute 
owner of all the territory; the great lords hold- 
ing their titles from him on condition of mili- 


tary service, their vassals pledging military ser- 
vice and obedience to them again on similar 
terms, and sub-vassals again to them repeating 
the pledge ; and so on in descending chain, until 
at last the serf, that wretched being whom none 
Jooks up to nor fears, is ground to powder 
beneath the superimposed mass ; no appeal from 
the authority, no escape from the caprice or 
cruelty of his feudal lord. Could any scales 
weigh, could any words measure the suffering 
which must have been endured ? Is it strange 
that, with every aspiration thwarted, hope 
stifled, Europe sank into the long sleep of the 
Middle Ages? 

It is easy to conceive that, under such a sys- 
tem, where all the affairs of the realm were 
adjusted by individual rulers with unlimited 
power, and where the great barons could make 
war upon each other without authorization 
from the king, by the time this nominal head of 
the entire system was reached there remained 
nothing for him to do. In fact, there was not 
left one vestige of kingly authority, and Carlo- 
vingian rulers were almost as insignificant as 
their Merovingian predecessors. France had, 


instead of one great sovereign, one hundred and 
fifty petty ones ! 

In A.D. 911 the Northmen were offered the 
province henceforth known as Normandy, upon 
condition of their acceptance of the religion 
and submission to the laws of the realm. 
Rollo, the disreputable robber-chief, took the 
oath of fealty to the King of France, his suze- 
rain, and Christian baptism transformed him 
into respectable, law-abiding Robert, Duke of 

So, the enemy had become a vassal. The 
pirate of the North Sea had taken his place 
among the Christian chivalry of Europe, as one 
of the twelve peers of France. It was less than 
a century since the death of Charlemagne, and 
the office of king had grown almost as help- 
less as in the period of the Rois Faineants. 
Under the stress of the continuous invasions, 
by perfectly natural process the central author- 
ity had passed to the feudal magnates. Many of 
the feudal states had actually organized into in- 
dependent governing bodies. The struggle with 
the Northmen ended, France, dismembered, ex- 
hausted, was lying prostrate. A king stripped 
of every kingly attribute at one extreme of the 


social system, and a people trampled into the 
very dust by feudal oppression at the other. 
Owners of nothing, not even of themselves, they 
might not fish in the streams, nor hunt in the 
forests, unless the privilege was bestowed ; and 
with their lives spent in fighting the incessant 
private wars of their lords, there seemed no 
room for them in the world, nor for hope in 
their hearts. With the king effaced, and the 
people effaced, there remained only bands of 
feudal barons trying to efface each other ! 

As in the last days of the Merovingians, 
light came from an unexpected quarter. The 
tide turned toward centralization. Robert the 
Strong, a man of obscure family, who had 
laid down his life in a very heroic resistance to 
the Northmen, had won the titles " Count of 
Paris " and " Duke of France," which he be- 
queathed, with the estates attached to them, to 
his successors. 

Somewhat after the manner of the Pepins, 
this powerful and resourceful family by sheer 
native ability grasped one after another the 
sources of power in the state ; and in the year 
987 the dynasty established by Pepin disap- 
peared, and Hugh Capet, Count of Paris and 


Abbot, was declared by the Pope of Rome to be 
" King of France, in virtue of his great deeds." 
It was the ecclesiastical office of this descendant 
of Robert the Strong which gave the name to 
the dynasty that had come to save France a 
second time from disintegration. Because he 
was the wearer of the Chape, or Cope, the 
name Chapet, or Capet, became that of the 

There now commenced a struggle between 
the antagonistic principles of royalty and aris- 
tocracy; a conflict which was going to last 
nearly five centuries, covering that dreary twi- 
light known as the Dark Ages a time when, 
had it not been for the Christian Church and 
for the torch of the Saracen in Spain, the light 
of civilization would really have been extin- 
guished, and the slender thread of connection 
with a great past have been broken. 

In the helpless misery existing in France at 
this time, the Church saw its opportunity. To 
that silent, humble, forgotten multitude with- 
out life or hope in the world, she offered refuge, 
peace, consolation, and thus forever bound to 
her the poor of Christendom; by this means 
establishing in the end an ecclesiastical domin- 


ion to which kings and peerage would be com- 
pelled to bow. 

If one would know how kings submitted to 
the authority of the Church at this time, let 
him read the story of the good King Robert, 
second in the Capetian line, who for marrying 
the gentle Bertha, his cousin fourth removed, 
suffered the punishment of excommunication; 
was treated as a moral leper in his own palace ; 
cut off from contact with human kind and 
from sound of human voice; the dishes from 
which he ate, the clothes he w r ore, destroyed, 
until repentant and heart-broken they consented 
to part and to break the bond of their union 

It was the despair in the heart of the nation 
which gave intensity to the religious instinct 
at this time. And when pestilence came, and 
neither rich nor poor could escape, conscience- 
stricken barons also trembled. A belief began 
to prevail that the end of the world was at hand. 
Did not the Book of Revelation say that one 
thousand years from the birth of Christ the 
great dragon was to be let loose and the earth 
was to be destroyed ? 

As the hour of doom approached, labor 


ceased, the fields were untouched, and when to 
pestilence and despair was added famine, then 
men's hearts failed them even under coats of 
mail. The Church came to the rescue with the 
" Truce of God," which, in the hope of appeas- 
ing an avenging God, forbade private wars 
during certain periods in the ecclesiastical year. 
Repentant barons, with a similar hope, made 
peace with their neighbors, and their swords 
rusted as they built monasteries and chapels; 
or some not yet obtaining peace, and perhaps 
restless with their occupation gone, made pil- 
grimages to Rome, to pray at the graves of 
Peter and Paul, and still others even to Jeru- 
salem, that the breath from Calvary might 
whiten their sin-steeped souls. 

It is interesting to note that among these 
penitent pilgrims, sixty years before the first 
Crusade, was that Duke of Normandy known 
as " Robert the Devil/' whose pagan ancestor 
only a century before had been the terror of 
European civilization, and whose son, thirty 
years later, w T as to wear the crown of England. 

In this way were the currents setting steadily 
toward the Holy Sepulchre as the panacea for 
human woes which were sent by an avenging 


God. These were the first stirrings of the 
breath of the coming storm which in eight suc- 
cessive waves was soon to sweep over Europe. 
The way was preparing for the great event of 
the Middle Ages. 

Whatever its motives, the abstaining from 
slaughter, and the building of cathedrals and 
monasteries and abbeys, was weaving a mantle 
of beauty for France, which she still proudly 
wears. And the greatest of the builders was 
the Duke of Normandy ; and it is to his duke- 
dom the art student turns for the most per- 
fect blending of grace and grandeur, character- 
istic of the early style. The marvel to which 
this is intended to draw attention is the pre- 
eminent position swiftly attained in France by 
this brilliant race, in every department of liv- 
ing. It would seem that France did not adopt 
this terrible child from the north, but that he 
adopted France, and changed and gave color 
to her whole future. It was a tempestuous ele- 
ment, but it was new life, and it is impossible 
to conceive of what that country would have 
been without this stimulating, brilliant infusion 
into its national life. 

With such marvellous facility did this people 


adopt the speech and manners of their neigh- 
bors, that in the year 1066 they were prepared 
to instruct the Britons in the ways of a more 
polished civilization. Only a century before 
the birth of William the Conqueror, his ances- 
tors had lived by looting. They were high- 
waymen and robbers by profession. His 
mother, a Norman peasant girl, daughter of a 
tanner, won the love of that gay duke known 
as " Robert the Devil." William, the child of 
this unconsecrated union, upon the death of his 
father succeeded to the dukedom. One of the 
steps in the rapid climb of this family of Rollo 
had been a marriage connecting them with the 
royal family of England. King Edward, Will- 
iam's remote cousin, died without an heir. 
Here was an opportunity. With sixty thou- 
sand Norman adventurers like himself, William 
started with the desperate purpose of invading 
England and wresting the crown from his 
cousin Harold. 

It was not the first time the Northman had 
invaded England. But never before had he 
come bringing a higher civilization, and under 
the banner of the Church! In a few weeks 
Harold, last king of the Saxons, was dead, and 


William, Duke of Normandy, was William L, 
King of England. 

Philip, King of France, saw with dismay his 
richest province ruled by a king of England, 
and his own vassal wearing a crown with power 
superior to his own ! A door had thus opened 
through which would enter entangling compli- 
cations and countless woes in the future. 

While William was trampling England into 
the dust, and with pitiless hand rivetting a feu- 
dal chain upon the Saxons, another and greater 
centre of power was developing at Rome, where 
the monk Hildebrand, who had now become 
Pope Gregory VII., claimed a universal sov- 
ereignty from which there was no appeal. 
Christ was King of Kings. So, as His vice- 
gerent upon earth, the authority of the pope 
was absolute in Christendom. 

The moment of this supreme elevation in the 
Church was reached at Canossa, 1072, when 
Henry, the excommunicated Emperor of Ger- 
many, came barefooted, in winter, and pros- 
trated himself before Gregory VII. If Charle- 
magne had worn the Church as a precious jewel 
in his crown in the ninth century, now in the 
eleventh the Church wore all the European 


states as a tiara of jewels in her mitre. With 
supreme wisdom, and with a sure instinct for 
power, her supremacy had been rooted first in 
the hearts of the people, then the mailed hand 
laid upon their rulers. 


THE corner-stone of the social structure in 
France was the dogma that work was degrad- 
ing; and not only manual labor, but anything 
done with the object of producing wealth was 
a degradation. The only honorable occupation 
for a gentleman was either to pray or to fight. 

Society in France was, therefore, divided 
into three classes : the Clergy, called the " First 
Estate " ; the Nobility, composing the " Second 
Estate," and the working and trading classes, 
the " Third Estate/ 7 or Tiers Etat. 

Out of reverence for their spiritual office,, 
precedence in rank was given to the clergy. 
But the actual ruling class was the nobility. 
The business of the clergy was to minister to 
souls. The business of the nobility was war- 
fare. That of the third estate, the toiling class, 
being to support the other tzvo. And whatever 
existed in the form of property or wealth in 
feudal times was produced by the Tiers Etat. 


The lowest stratum of the third estate was 
composed of " serfs." A serf belonged abso- 
lutely, with all that he possessed, to his lord. 
He was attached to his land, as are the trees 
which are rooted in it. There was, however, a 
class of serfs above this whom we should now 
call slaves, but who were by French law then 
designated as Freemen. 

A freeman might go and come under certain 
restrictions. But this did not by any means 
imply that he was freed from the proprietor to 
whom he belonged, to whom he was inevitably 
bound for military service, or for such contri- 
butions or claims as might be levied upon him. 

As was to be expected, it was in the cities 
that this half-emancipated class congregated; 
these cities as naturally becoming the centres 
of the various industries required to supply the 
necessities and luxuries of the two ruling 
classes. In this way there were being created 
various centres of wealth, which meant power, 
and which would have to be reckoned with in 
the future. 

The thin edge of the wedge was inserted 
when individual freemen offered money to their 
hard-pressed feudal lords in exchange for cer- 


tain privileges, and then for charters. And as 
more money was needed by proprietors for their 
lavish expenditures, more freedom and more 
charters were acquired, until, having purchased 
Immunities and privileges enough to make them 
to some extent self-governing, the town became 
what was called a commune. 

It was Louis VI, fifth king in the Capetian 
line, who completed this work of emancipation 
by recognizing the communes as free cities, 
and bestowing franchises clearly defining their 
rights. By this act the body of the manufac- 
turing class, or "burgesses, was recognized as a 
part of the body politic, and was enfranchised. 

A free city was a small republic. The en- 
tire body of inhabitants must take the communal 
oath, and when summoned by the tolling of the 
bell must all appear at the meeting of the Gen- 
eral Assembly for the purpose of choosing their 
magistrates. This done, the assembly dis- 
solved, and the magistrates were left with a 
free hand to rule or ruin, until checked by popu- 
lar outbreak or a new election. 

As is always the case, time developed two 
classes : an inferior population, with a furious 
spirit of democracy, and a superior class, more 


conservative, and desirous of keeping peace 
with the great proprietors. 

In this simple, humble fashion were the peo- 
ple groping toward freedom, and experiment- 
ing with the alphabet of self-government. 

The acknowledgment of the free cities by 
Louis VI., was the first move toward an alliance 
between the king and the people; an alliance 
which would eventually wrest the power from 
the hands of the nobles. But that end was still 
far off. Another accession to the kingly power 
came in the succeeding reign when Louis VII. 
married Eleanor, daughter of the Duke of 
Aquitaine; and her great inheritance, the lar- 
gest of the feudal states, was thereby annexed 
to the crown: a marriage which made some 
troublesome chapters in the history of two king- 
doms, of which we shall hear later. But, in 
the duel between king and peerage, the balance 
of power was moving toward the throne. 

At the time these things were happening that 
great event, the Crusades, had already com- 

It was in 1095 that Peter the Hermit, re- 
turning from a pilgrimage, by command of the 
Pope went throughout Europe proclaiming the 


desecration of the holy places. At a council 
held at Clermont in France, 1095, tae nrst Cru- 
sade was proclaimed by Urban II. Led by 
Peter the Hermit, a vast undisciplined host, 
without preparation, rushed indiscriminately 
toward Asia Minor, perishing by famine, dis- 
ease, and the sword before they reached their 
goal. Undismayed by this, another Crusade 
was immediately organized under the direction 
of the greatest nobles in France; and in three 
years (1099) the Holy City had been cap- 
tured, the Cross floated over the Holy Sepul- 
chre, and Godfrey of Boulogne, leader of the 
expedition, was proclaimed King of Jerusalem. 
France had inaugurated the most extraordi- 
nary movement in the history of civilization. 
Appealing as it did to the knightly and to the 
romantic ideal, what an opportunity was here 
for idle adventurous nobles, their occupation 
gone through changed conditions! If the 
Church, by 4t the Truce of God," had bid them 
sheathe their swords, now she bade them to be 
drawn in the defence of all that was sacred. The 
entire body of nobility would have rushed if it 
could to the Holy Land. Poor barons sold or 
mortgaged their lands and their castles, and the 


Third Estate grew rich, and the free cities still 
freer, upon the necessities of the hour. But 
all classes, from king to serf, were for the first 
time moved by a common sentiment; and not 
alone France, but the choicest and best of 
Europe was poured in one great volume of pas- 
sionate zeal into those successive waves which 
eight times inundated Palestine. Private in- 
terests sacrificed or forgotten, life, treasure, all 
eagerly given, for what ? That a small bit of 
territory a thousand miles distant be torn from 
profaning infidels, because it was the birth- 
place of a religion these champions failed to 
comprehend ; a religion worn upon their battle- 
flags but not in their hearts. 

The second Crusade, 1147, was -led by Con- 
rad, Emperor of Germany, and Louis VII. of 
France. The profligate conduct of Queen 
Eleanor, who accompanied her royal consort, 
led to serious political conditions. Louis ap- 
pealed to the pope, who consented to the divorce 
he desired. This proved simply an exchange 
of thrones for the fascinating Eleanor. Henry 
II. of England, already the possessor of im- 
mense estates in France, inherited from his 
father,, realized that with Aquitaine, Queen 


Eleanor's dowry, added to his own, and these 
again to Normandy, a marriage with the di- 
vorced wife of his rival would make him pos- 
sessor of more than three times the size of the 
domain controlled by the French king. 

The marriage was solemnized in 1152, and 
France saw her war with the feudal barons 
overshadowed by the fight for her very life with 
England, who had fastened this tremendous 
grasp upon her kingdom. 

The first truly great Capetian king came 
with this emergency. Philip Augustus, son of 
Louis VIL, in the year 1180, when only fifteen 
years of age, seized the reins with the hand of 
a born ruler. Before he was twenty-one he had 
broken up a combination of feudal barons 
against him. Then he turned to England. 
Queen Eleanor and her sons were conspiring 
against Henry II. So he made friends with 
them. The palace on the island in the Seine 
was an asylum where John and Richard might 
plot against their father. And when a third 
Crusade was planned, 1189, it had as leaders 
Philip Augustus of France, Richard L, who had 
just succeeded his father, Henry II., as King of 
England, and Barbarossa (Frederick L), the 


great Emperor of Germany. Before the Holy 
Land was reached the wise and crafty Philip 
Augustus and the fiery Richard had quarrelled. 

Philip had been carefully observing these two 
brothers who were successively to wear the 
crown of England. He knew the foibles of the 
romantic and picturesque Richard ; and he also 
knew that John, corrupt to the core, was a trai- 
tor to whom no trust would be sacred. In his 
own cold-blooded fashion he intended to use 
them both. 

John had conspired against his own father, 
now Philip would help him to supplant his 
brother, while Richard was safely occupied in 
Palestine. And when he had made John king, 
he, Philip Augustus, was to be rewarded by 
the gift of Normandy! With this in view, 
Philip returned to France. It was an ingen- 
ious plot, but all was spoiled by Richard's safe 
return from the thrilling adventures of the Cru- 
sade. In 1199, however, the crown passed 
naturally to John by the death of his brother, 
and this vicious son of Eleanor was King of 

There were other means of recovering his 
lost possessions. Philip espoused the cause of 


the young Arthur, John's nephew, a rival claim- 
ant to the English throne. And when that ill- 
fated Prince was murdered, as is believed by 
the orders of his uncle, for this and other of- 
fences King John, as Duke of Normandy 
thence vassal to the King of France was sum- 
moned to be tried by his peers. 

When after oft-repeated summons John re- 
fused to appear at Philip's court, by feudal law 
the King of France had legal authority to take 
possession of the dukedom. 

In vain did King John strive to defend by 
arms his vanishing- possessions. In the war 
which ensued, all north of the Loire was seized 
by Philip, and at one stroke he had mastered 
his enemies at home and abroad. 

Not only were Normandy, Anjou, Touraine, 
and Poitou restored to France, but they were 
hereafter to be held, not by dukes and counts, as 
before, but by the king, as a part of the royal 
domain. And kingship, towering high above 
all the great barons of France, had for the first 
time become a reality. 

It was Philip's policy of expansion which 
gave color to his reign ; not an expansion which 
would bring extension into foreign lands, but 


solidity and firmness of outline to France itself. 
We have seen how and why this policy was vig- 
orously carried out in the north. The growth 
toward the south is a less pleasant story. 

The province of Toulouse, nominally subject 
to France, was actually ruled by Raymond VI., 
" by grace of God " Count of Toulouse. Per- 
haps if this province had not possessed and 
controlled several ports on the Mediterranean, 
while France had none at all, it might not have 
been discovered that this home of the "gay 
science/ 7 and of minstrelsy, and of all that was 
gentle and refining, was in fact the nursery of 
a dangerous heresy, and that the poetic, music- 
loving children of Provence reviled the cross 
and worshipped the devil ! 

We can easily imagine that in this highly 
developed community there had arisen a spirit 
of inquiry into prevailing conditions and beliefs 
in the Church. And we can also imagine that 
a crafty sovereign saw in this an opportunity 
to serve his own ends. And so, Pope Inno- 
cent III. ordered a Crusade, and John de Mont- 
fort not only opened up the Mediterranean 
ports for Philip, but brought Toulouse, the 
greatest of the remaining feudal states, into sub- 


jection to the King of France ; at the same time 
forever silencing the voice of the heretic, of the 
minstrel, and of the harp; even the speech, 
with its delicate inflections and musical into- 
nations, disappeared, to be heard nevermore. 
Such, in brief, is the story of the " Albigensian 
War/' so called on account of the heresy hav- 
ing been brought into Provence by the Albi- 
genses from Switzerland. 

After a century and a half Normandy was 
restored. Its reabsorption into France marked 
the parting of the ways in two kingdoms. 
Kingship was reinforced in one, and citizen- 
ship developed in the other. In England the 
nobles and the people drew closer together, 
resolved to defend themselves from a vicious 
king, and this determined effort to curtail the 
royal prerogative produced the Magna Charta, 
which forever secured the liberties of English- 
men (1215). In France, on the contrary, the 
power was moved in one volume toward the 
king and despotism. Both nations were in the 
hands of fate a fate, too, which was using 
unscrupulous men to accomplish its great pur- 
poses for each. 


But however we may disparage Philip's 
heart and aims, no one can deny the breadth 
and superiority of his mind and his statesman- 
ship. He was a Charlemagne made on a 
smaller scale, and without a conscience. Not 
one of the successors of Clovis or of Pepin had 
so intelligently grasped the sources of per- 
manent growth in a nation. He may have been 
false of tongue and unprincipled in deed, but 
he took the free cities under his personal protec- 
tion, opened up trade with foreign lands, beau- 
tified Paris and France. He may, under the 
cloak of religion, have permitted unjustifiable 
cruelties against the most innocent, the most 
gifted province in Europe, in order to secure 
access to the sea for France. But he left the 
communes richer and happier, his kingdom 
freer from local tyrannies, transformed from a 
pandemonium of struggling knights and bar- 
ons into the nearest approach yet realized to 
a modern state. 


IF the Crusades had strengthened the power 
of the Church, they had at the same time 
brought about an expansion of thought which 
was undermining it. Men were beginning to 
think, to inquire, and then to doubt. How 
could sensuality and vice at Rome be reconciled 
with a divine infallibility? If the ballad- 
poetry of Provence satirized the lives and man- 
ners of the priests, was it not dealing with 
what was true? 

During the reign of Philip's father, a pale r 
studious youth was pacing the cloisters on the 
banks of the Seine, by the side of Notre Dame. 
He was thinking upon these things. And " as 
he mused the fire burned." This was Abelard. 
The intellectual awakening brought about by 
the lectures of this most learned and accom- 
plished man of his time produced an epoch. He 
spoke to his disciples in the open air, as no build- 
ing could hold the thousands who hung upon 


his lips. This movement became localized; a 
faubourg of students was created with their 
multiform activities. It became a quarter by 
itself a noisy, turbulent, agitated quarter 
where the only luxury enjoyed was an expand- 
ing thought, and where Latin was the spoken 
language. And so it happened that the Qnar- 
tier Latin came into existence. 

But while the place remains, the man quickly 
passed off the scene. He w r as silenced, his 
teachings condemned by a Church council at 
Soissons, and he immured for life in the Mon- 
astery of Cluny, to be treasured in the heart of 
humanity as a martyr to truth, and as the lover 
of Eloise, in that sad romance of the twelfth 

After a brief reign of three years Louis 
VIII. , son and successor of Philip, was dead, 
and Louis IX., under the regency of his mother, 
" Blanche of Castile," was proclaimed king. 
The same family, which later gave Isabella to 
Spain, also bestowed upon France this wise, 
intrepid woman at a critical time. 

With a boy of eleven and a woman of thirty- 
eight years upon the throne, the time seemed 
propitious for the barons to recover the power 


Philip had wrung from them, and to reduce 
kingship to its former humble position. 

With this purpose a powerful coalition was 
formed, embracing the barons north and south, 
chief among" whom was Raymond of Toulouse. 
By force of arms, and by diplomacy, Blanche 
of Castile met this crisis with astonishing cour- 
age and address. The free cities sprang to her 
assistance; and not only was the coalition 
broken, but there was formed a bond between 
the crown and the people, leaving the throne 
stronger than before. 

Blanche showed great political wisdom in 
arranging for the marriage of her son with the 
daughter of the Count of Provence; thus cap- 
turing and securing the loyalty of this most 
powerful and disaffected state, which was 
making common cause with Toulouse against 
the king. And it is with mingled pity and re- 
joicing" that we hear of Raymond VII. of Tou- 
louse, once champion of the Albigenses war- 
rior, poet, troubadour, and heretic scourge in 
hand and barefooted, at the porch of Notre 
Dame, doing penance for his sins against the 

With Louis IX. on the throne a new day had 


dawned for France. Louis was not a great 
soldier. His reign was not one of territorial 
expansion but of wise administration, giving 
permanence and solidity to what already ex- 
isted. We are apt to think of Philip's heavenly 
minded grandson chiefly as a saint But his 
service to the state was enduring- and of the 
first magnitude, because it dealt with the 
sources of things. When he established a 
King's Court, which was a court of appeal 
from the rude justice, or injustice, of feudal 
counts, he undermined the foundation of feu- 
dal power. In bestowing the right of appeal, 
his protecting hand reached down to the poor- 
est man in the realm. And when bewildered 
barons heard the uncomprehended language of 
the law-courts, and heard men not of their own 
order declaring private wars punishable by 
death, they felt their power slipping from under 
them, and that they were coming into a new 
sort of a world. 

One of the greatest acts of this reign was the 
abolishing of the double allegiance, which had 
wrought such trouble since the Duke of Nor- 
mandy's conquest of England. Feudal pro- 
prietors were forbidden to hold territory under 


a foreign king; and henceforth no conquered 
province could acknowledge allegiance to an 
English king ; nor would an English king again 
be vassal to a king of France. 

But in so fortifying his throne, this best of 
kings, and of men, would have been surprised 
had he been told that he was preparing the way 
for the greatest tragedy in history ; that he was 
creating an absolute despotism which five hun- 
dred years later would require a revolution of 
unprecedented horror for its removal. Such 
was the fact. Every wise act in this reign was 
prompted by the spirit of fairness and justice. 
And if at the same time these acts were draw- 
ing all the forces in the state to a central point, 
under the control of a single hand, it was the 
best development for France under existing 

Saint though he was, and almost fanatic in 
his devotion to the Church, Louis resisted the 
pope or the bishop, if unjust, with as much 
energy as one of his own barons; and, in the 
same spirit of fairness, would punish his own 
too zealous defenders who had infringed upon 
the feudal rights of the peerage. 

This was Louis the king. But it is Louis 


the saint who holds the eye on the world's 
canvas. The real life was to him the life of 
the soul. Francis Assisi himself did not live 
in an atmosphere of greater spiritual exalta- 
tion than this devout and heavenly grandson of 
Philip Augustus ! No monk in the Dark Ages 
attached such sanctity to relics. When a por- 
tion of the crown of thorns was sent to him 
from Jerusalem, he built that exquisite Saint e 
Chapelle for its reception ; and barefooted, bare- 
headed, carried it himself in solemn procession 
from Vincennes to Paris, placing it with rev- 
erent hands in that shrine we may visit to-day. 

Christian knighthood had reached its one 
perfect flower in Louis; and the Crusades fit- 
tingly closed with the life of the most saintly 
crusader. His first Crusade was disastrous, 
occupying years of his life; his mother, 
Blanche of Castile, dying during his absence. 
His second and last was more costly still. Near 
the ruins of Carthage, where he was in conflict 
with a Mohometan band, he was stricken with 
fever and died (1270). 

Louis's brother, Charles of Anjou, is said 
to have led him into this fatal attempt, for his 
own purposes. Charles, of very different 


memory, was at this time, by invitation of the 
pope, occupying the double throne of Naples 
and Sicily. And he it was who provoked by 
his cruelties that frightful outbreak known as 
the " Sicilian Vespers," in 1283, 
^ The Crusades had lasted from 1095 to 1270. 
The purpose for which they were undertaken 
had signally failed. Jerusalem, captured in 
the first Crusade., was lost in the second, and 
never recovered. And so ineffectual had been 
the expenditure of life, fortune, and enthusiasm 
that the last Crusade was not even fought in 
Palestine, but on the shores of North Africa. 

But something had been accomplished which 
none had foreseen : a result of greater magni- 
tude than territorial possession of the Holy 
Land. Through the broadening of men's 
views, and the common heritage of a great 
experience, a group of isolated kingdoms had 
been draw r ii into fraternal relations, and a 
European civilization had commenced. 

There had been many surprises. Close con- 
tact had softened prejudices. The infidel had 
found that the crusader was something rnone 
than the most brutal and stupid of barbarians, 
as he had supposed ; and the crusader, that tbe 


profaning infidel was not the monster he ex- 
pected to find. In fact, the European discov- 
ered that in the Saracen and the Greek they 
met a civilization much more advanced, more 
learned, and more polished than their own. 
More civilization was brought out of the East 
than was carried into it by its Christian in- 
vaders. And it was through this strange and 
disastrous experience that the art and the 
thought of Europe received its first impulse 
toward a great future. 

* During the fifteen years of the reign of 
Louis's son, Philip III., France moved on under 
the momentum received from his father. But 
the succeeding reign of Philip IV. was epoch- 
making. That imperious, strong-willed son of 
Saint Louis demanded that the clergy should 
share the state's burden by contributing to its 
revenue. Pope Boniface VIII., imperious and 
strong-willed as he, immediately issued a bull, 
forbidding the clergy to pay, or the officers to 
receive, such taxes. The answ r er to this was a 
royal edict forbidding the exportation of pre- 
cious metals (of course including money) from 
France to Italy, thus cutting off from the 
pope the large revenue from the Church in 


The quarrel resolved itself at last into a ques- 
tion of the relative authority of king and pope 
in the kingdom. In order to fortify his posi- 
tion, and perhaps to show his contempt for 
clergy and barons alike, Philip took a step 
which profoundly affected the future of France. 
At a great council summoned to consider these 
papal claims, he commanded the presence not 
only of the ecclesiastics and nobles, the two 
governing estates, but also summoned the rep- 
resentatives of the towns and cities the Tiers 
Etatl Prelate, baron, and bourgeois for the 
first time met in a Council of State. 

A king who was the impersonation of abso- 
lutism had created the States-General (1302) ; 
had forged the instrument which would event- 
ually effect for France a deliverance from mon- 
archy itself! 

The cause of the king was sustained by the 
council; the claims of the pope were rejected 
Still not satisfied, Philip then audaciously pro- 
posed a general ecclesiastical council to deter- 
mine whether Boniface legitimately wore the 
triple crown. When the old man died, as is 
said from the shock of this attempt, the king 
was master of the situation. Gifts had already 


been distributed among corrupt cardinals in the 
conclave. The papacy was at his feet, and 
might be in his hand. The most dissolute of 
his own archbishops was selected as his tool, 
and, as Clement V., succeeded to the chair of 
St. Peter. The centre of the ecclesiastical world 
was then removed from Rome to Avignon, 
where it could be under Philip's immediate 
direction, and the astonishing period in the his- 
tory of the papacy, known as the Babylonian 
Captivity, which was to last for seventy years, 
under seven popes, had commenced. 

The Knights Templar, those appointed guar- 
dians of the Holy Sepulchre and defenders of 
Jerusalem, it is to be supposed were not in sym- 
pathy with these things. Whatever the cause, 
their extermination was decreed. Accused of 
impossible crimes, the whole brotherhood was 
arrested in one day, and, at a summary trial, 
condemned, Philip himself, in that old palace 
on the island in the Seine, giving orders for the 
fagots to be laid, and the immediate execution 
of the grand master and many others. 

Philip's death, occurring as it did soon after 
this sacrilege, was popularly believed to be a 
manifestation of God's wrath ; and the death of 


his three sons, Louis, Philip, and Charles, who 
successively reigned during a period of only 
fourteen years, leaving the family extinct, 
seemed a further proof that a curse rested upon 
the house. 

The question of the succession, for the first 
time since Hugh Capet, was in doubt. By 
the existing Salic Law only male descendants 
were eligible to the throne of France. The 
three sons of Philip IV. had died, leaving each 
a daughter, so the son of Charles of Valois, 
only brother of Philip IV. ? was the nearest in 
descent from Hugh Capet ; and thus the crown 
passed to the Valois branch of the family in the 
person of Philip VI. (1328). 


IN this break in the line of succession, Eng- 
land saw an opportunity. The mother of Ed- 
ward III., King" of England, was Isabella, 
daughter of Philip IV. Edward claimed that 
he, as grandson of the French king, had a 
claim superior to that of the nephew. A strict 
interpretation of the Salic Law certainly vi- 
tiated his claim of heirship through the female 
line. But Edward did not stand upon such a 
trifle as that. The stake was great, and so was 
the opportunity. Now England might not 
alone recover her lost possessions in France, 
but might establish a legitimate claim to the 

So it was that an English army was once 
more upon French soil, and in 1346 Edward, 
with his toy cannon, had w r on the battle of 
Crecy, followed by the siege and capture of 
Calais, which for two hundred years was to re- 


main an English port a thorn in the side of 

A part of the old kingdom of Burgundy, 
which was called Dauphiny, dropped into the 
lap of Philip, this first Valois king, during his 
reign. The old duke, being without an heir, 
offered to sell this bit of territory to the King of 
France upon the condition that it should be kept 
as the personal possession of the eldest sons of 
the kings of France. Thenceforth the title of 
Dauphin was w r om by the heir to the throne, 
until it became extinct with the son of Louis 
XVI. And when the feeble Philip VI. died in 
1350, his son John, the first dauphin, assumed 
the crown of France. 

John, this second Valois king, was an anach- 
ronism. A man intended for the eleventh cen- 
tury had been set down in the fourteenth. The 
restoration of knightly ceremonial, tournaments 
at the Louvre, the details of a new Crusade 
which he was planning, and the distribution of 
new titles, these were the things occupying the 
mind of the king, while his kingdom, rent by 
factions within, was in a death-struggle with 
foes from without. 

A fantastic Don Quixote, on a tottering 


throne, was fighting the most practical states- 
man and the strongest-armed warrior Europe 
held at the time. 

With this weakness at the centre, France was 
again falling into fragments. There was even 
a resumption of private wars between nobles ; 
and, most paralyzing of all, an empty treasury. 
Such time as he could spare from his main 
projects John gave to the affairs of the king- 
dorn. First of all, taxes must be levied; and 
when the first tax was upon salt, King Edward 
condescended to make an historic witticism, 
saying " he had at last discovered who was the 
author of the Salic Law! " 

In the various plans for raising money, it 
was important that the taxes should be levied 
so that the burden would fall upon those who 
could, and who would, pay. This meant the 
dwellers in the towns and cities: the bour- 
geoisie. They were the capitalists. But what 
if they should refuse? In order to secure the 
success of the measure, it was considered wise 
to obtain their consent in advance. 

When King John asked permission of the 
States-General to tax them, a critical line was 
passed. That body for the first time realized 


Its power. It might make its own terms. It 
demanded that the moneys collected, and their 
expenditure, should be under the direction of 
its officers. Then, growing bolder, it demanded 
reforms : Private wars must cease ; the meet-ings 
of the States-General must be at appointed in- 
tervals, without being summoned by the king. 

These meetings at Paris grew stormy. Grad- 
ually re-enforced with a vicious element, they 
were soon led by demagogues, became violent 
and revolutionary, and finally red caps and bar- 
ricades, characteristic of Parisian mobs of a 
later period, brought the whole movement into 
the hands of the agents of " Charles the Bad/' 
evil genius of his time, who saw his "opportu- 
nity to use it in his own ambitious designs upon 
the throne. But France was to hear from the 
Tiers Etat again ! 

In 1356, Edward's son, the Black Prince, 
won a still greater victory than Crecy, at 
Poitiers, in which king John was captured and 
carried to London. 

But Edward found that, while victories were 
comparatively easy, conquest was difficult. A 
generation had passed since the war began. 
So in 1360 both kingdoms were ready to con- 


sider terms of peace. By the treaty of Bre- 
tigny, Edward renounced the claim to the 
French throne, and received in full sovereign- 
ty the great inheritance Queen Eleanor had 
brought to Henry II. King John was to be 
released and his son held as hostage until 
the enormous ransom was paid. Of course 
the money could not be paid by impoverished 
France, for such a doubtful benefit, at least ; and 
so the son and hostage made his escape. Then 
King John, faithful to his chivalrous creed, re- 
turned to London and captivity, dying in 1364. 

The dauphin, who had now become Charles 
V., came to the throne with the determination 
of restoring France to herself. His attention 
had been drawn to the military talents of a 
Breton youth Bertrand du Guesclin. Poor, 
diminutive in stature, deformed, he had raised 
himself to military positions usually reserved as 
a reward for sons of nobles. In the reopening 
of a war with England, which Charles was 
planning, du Guesclin was to be the sword and 
he the brain. 

The Black Prince had gone to Spain to fight 
the battles of Peter the Cruel, in a civil w r ar in 
which the Prince was involved by inheritance, 


and was levying taxes for this Castilian war 
upon his new subjects in Aquitaine. The peo- 
ple in this province turned to Charles to deliver 
them from this oppression. He immediately 
summoned Prince Edward before the Court of 
Peers; to which the Black Prince replied that 
he would accept the invitation, but would come 
with his helmet on his head and sixty thousand 
men in his party. 

So successfully did Charles and du Guesclin 
meet this renewal of the war that Prince Ed- 
ward and his sixty thousand men w r ere gradu- 
ally driven north until the English possessions 
were reduced to a few towns upon the coast. 
The Black Prince, under the weight of respon- 
sibility and defeat, succumbed to disease, and 
died, 1377. The death of Edward III. oc- 
curred soon after that of his son, and Richard 
II. was King of England. 

The expulsion of the English was not the 
only benefit bestowed by Charles V. The 
revolting States-General were restrained and 
were firmly held in the king's hand. Still 
more important was the reorganization of the 
military system, by placing it under the com- 
mand of officers appointed by the Crown, who 


might or might not belong to the order of no- 
bility. No more effective blow could have 
been aimed at feudalism, which was nothing if 
not militant. Indeed, every act of this brief 
reign was a protest against the purposes and 
ideals of his father, King John, who was the 
embodiment of the ancient spirit. It was a 
needed breathing-spell between a half-century 
of disaster behind and another half-century of 
still greater disaster before. 

The death of Charles V. (1380) left the 
throne to a delicate boy of twelve years, who 
was to reign under the successive regencies of 
three uncles. These brothers of Charles, and 
sons of the romantic King John, seem to rep- 
resent all the traits and passions which can de- 
grade humanity. The oldest, the Duke of 
An j ou, was driven from the regency after steal- 
Ing everything which was movable In the king r s 
palace and vaults. The Duke of Burgundy, 
who succeeded him, had nobler objects, and 
needed a larger field for his ambitious soul. 
He had an eye on the throne Itself. And when 
he and the Duke Berri, at the instigation of 
the archbishop, were compelled to resign the 
reins to the young King Charles VI., they car- 


ried with them to their own castles all that 
Anjou had left. Of course the archbishop was 
mysteriously murdered, and then the boy king 
was married to Isabella of Bavaria, said to be 
the most beautiful and the wickedest woman in 

Charles had always been a frail, delicate boy. 
As he was riding one evening, a strange, wild- 
looking being sprang out of the darkness and 
seized the bridle of his horse, crying, " Fly, 
fly ! you are betrayed." The astonished youth 
after the shock, became melancholy; then \vas 
suddenly seized with a fit of frenzy, in which 
he killed four of his pages. A mad king was 
on the throne of France, the worst woman in 
Europe regent, and three uncles waiting like 
vultures around a dying man, ready to seize 
anything from a golden candlestick to a throne ! 

In the chaos of misrule and villainy into 
which France was falling, the determining fac- 
tor was the deadly feud which existed between 
the house of Burgundy and that of Orleans. 
Upon the death of the first Duke of Burgundy, 
his son John seized the regency for himself, 
snatching it from the Duke of Orleans, the 
king's brother. At this point started the feud 


was to tear France asunder from end 
to end. While the Orleanists were gathering 
their adherents to drive him out, John was in- 
trenching- himself in Paris. Like many another 
villain, this Duke of Burgundy posed as the 
friend of the people. He could doff his cap 
and speak smilingly to starving men. He 
knew how to work upon their passions, and to 
please by torturing and executing those they 
believed had wronged them. He told them 
how he pitied them for the extortions of the 
Duke of Orleans and Queen Isabella, kindly 
giving them pikes to defend themselves, and 
iron chains to barricade their streets, if they 
should be needed. Then, extending his hand 
to his enemy of Orleans, brother of the king, 
they were reconciled : the past was to be buried. 
Then it is a pleasant picture we behold of the 
period : the two friends partaking together o" 
communion, and dining, and then embracing at 
parting with effusive words and promises to 
meet at a dance on the morrow, the unsuspect- 
ing Duke of Orleans going out into the dark, 
where hired assassins were waiting to hack him 
in pieces. Then a court of justice trying- and 
acquitting this confessed murderer of the 


king's brother, upon the ground that tyranni- 
cide is a duty; the sad, crazed wraith of a king 
saying the words he had been taught : " Fair 
cousin, we pardon you all." And the tragedy 
and comedy were over ! 

There was no\v no check upon the Burgun- 
dian power. In the worst days of English oc- 
cupation of her land, France had been in less 
danger from Edward III. than she now was 
from the Duke of Burgundy, champion and de- 
fender of the people ! The immediate object of 
the Burgundian or people's party, and the Or- 
leans and aristocratic party, was the possession 
of the person of the king, and control of his 
acts during his few lucid moments. 

There was civil war in a land divested of 
every vestige of government. England would 
have been blind had she not seen her oppor- 
tunity; but, too much occupied w r ith her own 
revolution, she had to wait. And when Henry 
IV., the first Lancastrian, was king, he needed 
both hands to hold his crown firmly on his head. 
But when the young Henry V. came to the 
throne, with the energy and ambition of youth, 
the time was ripe for the recovery of the lost 
possessions in France- 


The battle of Agincourt (1415) reopened the 
war with a great defeat for the French chivalry, 
which represented the Orleanist party. The 
wholesale slaughter of princes, bishops, and 
knights on this fatal day was clear gain for the 
traitor Burgundy, the champion of the people ! 
The climax of his villainy was at hand. 

Henry V., at Rouen, was openly holding his 
court as King of France. John, Duke of Bur- 
gundy, accompanied by Queen Isabella, pre- 
sented himself to the invading king, and for- 
mally pledged his support and that of his 
followers to the cause of the English ! 

The infamous treaty of Troves was signed, 
1420. It provided that Henry should act as 
regent to Charles VI. while he lived; that 
upon the death of that unhappy being he should 
be Henry V. of England and Henry II. of 
France; and that the two kingdoms should 
thereafter exist under one crown. The roman- 
tic marriage of Henry with the Princess Kath- 
arine, daughter of Charles and Isabella, which 
was part of the agreement, was solemnized 
in that old palace on the island in the Seine. 
And the same vaulted ceilings which we may 
see to-day, looked down upon this historic mar- 


riage, as they also did upon the condemnation 
of Marie Antoinette, three and a half centuries 
later. We know of this union of Henry and 
the fair Katharine chiefly through the pen of 
Shakespeare, in his play of Henry V. 

But Henry was destined never to wear the 
crown of France, nor even to see his own land 
again. There were only two more years of 
life for him. His death occurred in his pal- 
ace of the Louvre, a few weeks before that of 
Charles VL, and the crown he expected to wear 
upon this event passed to his infant son, who 
was by the Burgundian party recognized as 
King of France. 

A careless, pleasure-loving dauphin, just 
twenty, apparently indifferent to the loss of a 
kingdom, was a frail support at such a time. 
Only a fragment of the country was held by 
his followers, the Orleanists; Scotland had 
come to his aid with a few thousand men, but 
what did this avail with the greater part of the 
kingdom held by the Burgundians, while town 
after town was declaring its allegiance to the 
English Duke of Bedford, whom his dying 
brother, Henry V., had named as regent for his 
infant son. 


The city of Orleans, held by the dauphin's 
adherents, was besieged. It was the key to the 
situation. Its fall meant the fall of the king- 
dom, the conquest of France. When this hap- 
pened, that infant at the Louvre would really 
be the wearer of the crown. So hopeless was 
the situation that the spiritless Charles was 
only in doubt whether to take refuge in Scot- 
land or in Spain. 

But although towns and cities had deserted 
him, the heart of the people had not. Patriot- 
ism, dead everywhere else, still lived in the heart 
of that forgotten multitude lying silent and 
humble tinder the feet of its masters. The 
monarchy had been their friend, their only 
friend. The Church had deserted them, and 
joined their enemies the nobles. But to the 
people, the name King expressed gratitude and 
hope ; and they loved it. 

If a great spreading tree full of verdure had 
arisen in a day out of the barren breast of 
Mother Earth, it would scarcely have been a 
greater miracle that what really happened 
when a child of the soil, a girl, rising trium- 
phant over the disabilities of age, sex, birth, 
and condition, saved France from destruction. 


Summoned by celestial voices, by angels whom 
she not only heard but saw, Joan of Arc started 
upon her mission of rescue for France ! 

When this daughter of the people, this peas- 
ant from Domremy, was admitted to the pres- 
ence of the dauphin, it is said that in amuse- 
ment and in order to test the reality of her 
mission, Charles exchanged dress with one of 
his courtiers. But the maid going straight to 
him, said : " Gentle dauphin, I come to restore 
to you the crown of France. Orleans shall be 
saved by me. And you, by the help of God 
and my Lady St. Catharine, shall be crowned at 

On the 2Qth of April the maid did enter the 
fainting city. And she did lead the dauphin 
to Rheims for his coronation. And then, 
kneeling at his feet, asked the " Gentle King " 
to let her go back to her sheep at Doniremy. 
" For/' she said, " they love me more than 
these thousands of people I have seen." 

Unhappily, she did not return to her sheep, 
but remained among those wolves, and was cap- 
tured and a prisoner of the English. 

What should they do with this strange being, 
claiming supernatural powers? The Regent 

From the painting by Lenepveu. 

Burning of Joan of Arc at Rouen, May SO, ]431. 


Duke of Bedford denounced her as a rebel 
against the infant king; and the Bishop of 
Beauvais as a blasphemer and child of the 
devil. Nothing could be clearer than her guilt 
upon both of these charges ! And on the I3th 
of May, 1431, this mysteriously inspired child 
was burnt by a slow fire in the market-place of 
Rouen. And the " Gentle King/' where was 
he while this was happening? 

It must ever remain a mystery that a peas- 
ant girl, a child in years and in experience, 
should have believed herself called to such a 
mission ; that conferring only with her heavenly 
guides, or " voices/' she should have sought the 
king, inspired him with faith in her, and in 
himself and his cause, reanimated the courage 
of the army, and led it herself to victory abso- 
lute and complete; and then, have compelled 
the half-reluctant, half-doubting Charles to go 
with her to Rheims, there to be anointed and 
consecrated; this simple child in that day be- 
stowing upon him a kingdom, and upon France 
a king ! 

Was there ever a stranger chapter in history ! 
Alas, if it could have ended here, and she could 
have gone back to her mother and her spinning 


and her simple pleasures, as she was always 
longing to do when her work should be done. 
But no! \ve see her falling into the hands of 
the defeated and revengeful English this 
child, who had wrested from them a kingdom 
already in their grasp. She was turned over 
to the French ecclesiastical court to be tried. 
A sorceress and a blasphemer they pronounce 
her, and pass her on to the secular authorities, 
and her sentence is death. 

We see the poor defenceless girl, bewildered, 
terrified, wringing her hands and declaring her 
innocence as she rides to execution. God and 
man had abandoned her. No heavenly voice 
spoke, no miracle intervened as her young limbs 
were tied to the stake and the fagots and straw 
piled up about her. The torch was applied, and 
her pure soul mounted heavenward in a column 
of flames. 

Rugged men wept. A Burgundian general 
said, as he turned gloomily away, " We have 
murdered a saint." 

And Charles, sitting upon the throne she had 
rescued for him, what was he doing to save 
her? Nothing to his everlasting shame be it 
said, nothing. He might not have succeeded ; 


the effort at rescue, or to stay the event, might 
have been unavailing. But where was his 
knighthood, where his manhood, that he did not 
try, or utter passionate protest against her fate? 
Twenty-five years later we see him erecting 
statues to her memory, and " rehabilitating " 
her desecrated name. And to-day, the Church 
which condemned her for blasphemy is placing 
her upon the calendar of saints. 


CHARLES VII. in creating a standing 1 army 
struck feudalism a deadly blow. His son, Louis 
XL, with cold-blooded brutality finished the 
work. This man's powerful and crafty intelli- 
gence saw in an alliance with the common peo- 
ple a means of absorbing to himself supreme 
power. Not since Tiberius had there been a 
more blood-thirsty monster on a throne. But 
he demolished the political structure of mediae- 
valism in his kingdom ; and when his cruel reign 
was ended the Middle Ages had passed away, 
and modern life had begun in France. 

There was no longer even the pretence of 
knightly virtues in France. It was time for 
the high-born robbers and ruffians in steel hel- 
mets to give place to men with hearts and 
brains. It is said that of those thousands, that 
chivalric host, which was slaughtered at Agin- 
court, not one in twenty could write his name. 
All alike were cruel and had the instincts of 


barbarians. While the Duke of Burgundy, the 
richest prince in Europe, was starving his ene- 
mies in secret dungeons in the Bastille, his 
Orleans rival, Count of Armagnac, not having 
access to the Bastille, was decapitating Burgun- 
dians till his executioners fainted from fatigue. 
It is almost with relief that we read of tbe 
slaughter of these knightly savages at Agin- 
court. If the shipwreck of a mighty kingdom 
was to be averted, two things must be done. 
The decaying corpse of feudalism must be 
thrown overboard, and the Church must be 
purified. Both had fallen from the ideals 
which created them; the ideal of truth, justice, 
and spotless honor, and the ideal of divine love 
and mercy. Even the semblance of truth and 
justice and honor had departed from the one; 
and unspeakable corruption had crept into the 
other. From the day of the Albigensian cruel- 
ties, the heart of the Church had turned to stone, 
and the spark of life divine within seemed ex- 
tinguished. Once the guardian of the helpless, 
it had deserted the people and made common 
cause with their oppressors. One pope at 
Rome, and another at Avignon, was a heavy 
burden to carry. But when three infallible 


beings were hurling anathemas at each other, 
the University of Paris led Christendom in 
rejecting them all 

So the two great classes for which the State 
existed were overweighting the ship at a time 
when it was being torn and tossed by a storm 
of gigantic proportions. 

Well was it for France that Charles VII., as 
king, developed unexpected firmness and abil- 
ity. The creation of a standing army, and the 
disbanding of all military organizations exist- 
ing without the king's commission, at one 
sweeping blow completed the wreck of feudal- 
ism. It only remained for Charles's cold- 
blooded son, Louis XI., to finish the work, and 
medievalism was a thing of the past in France. 

The reign of Charles was imbittered by the 
conduct of this unnatural son, whose undis- 
guised impatience to assume the crown so 
alarmed him that it is said he shortened his own 
life by abstaining from food in the fear that 
the dauphin might lay the guilt of parricide 
upon his soul. 

This heart-broken, desolate old man died in 
1461. And Louis XL was King of France. 

The son of Charles VII. was a composite of 


the wisest and the worst of his predecessors. 
Indeed, it is to the Roman emperors we must 
look for a parallel to this monster on a throne. 
And yet, to no other king does France owe 
such a debt of gratitude. His remorseless 
hand placed a great gulf between the new and 
the old, in which were forever buried the men 
and the system which had fed upon her life. 

The antagonism between the son and the 
father aroused great hopes of a reversal of 
policy and a rehabilitation of feudalism. These 
hopes were soon undeceived. So inscrutable 
and so tortuous was the policy of this strange 
being, so unexpected his changes of direction, 
so false and inconsistent his words and acts, 
and so unspeakably cruel the means to his ends, 
that a cowed and bewildered nation was soon 
crouching at his feet, not knowing whither he 
was leading them. 

Warfare played no part in this reign. In- 
vasion was met by diplomacy, and slaughter 
and bloodshed were relegated to the execu- 
tioner. Incredible as it seems, it is said that 
from his windows this king could look out 
upon an avenue of gibbets upon which hung the 
bodies of his enemies. The humorous spirit in 


which he disposed of obstructive nobles is illus- 
trated by a note to an unsuspecting victim. 
" Fair cousin, come and give us your advice. 
We have need of so wise a head as yours." 
And in the morning the fair cousin's wise head 
was in a basket filled with sawdust ! 

When all was done, a town council meant 
more than the " Order of the Golden Fleece " ; 
and, pari passu, with the humiliation of the 
noble came the elevation of the bourgeois. A 
nameless adventurer would be admitted to con- 
fidential intimacy when a Montmorenci could 
not get beyond his antechamber. 

In fact, this levelling up and levelling down 
was the object of all this king's odious crimes 
and the central purpose of his cold-blooded 
reign. If a patent of nobility was a pretty 
good passport to the scaffold, good service in a 
town council was an open door to elevation. 

So, judged by results, Louis XI. was a better 
king than many a better man had been. He 
buried the ideals of the past fathoms deep and 
then stamped them down with remorseless feet. 
He demolished the political structure of medie- 
valism in his kingdom, and when his terrible 
reign was ended, in 1483, the Middle Ages had 


passed away and modern life had begun in 

Almost any reign would have seemed color- 
less after that of Louis XL But that of his 
son, Charles VIII.., was made memorable by one 
event, an invasion of Italy, which brought to 
France a long train of disastrous consequences. 

It will be remembered that in the thirteenth 
century, Charles, Duke of Anjou, of Sicilian 
fame, or infamy, and brother of Louis the 
Saint, occupied the throne of Naples by invita- 
tion of the pope. 

The family of Anjou having recently become 
extinct, Charles was now the rightful heir to 
that throne. So as there was nothing in espe- 
cial for him to do at home, and as his new army, 
created and equipped by his father, w r as a very 
splendid affair for that day, and as Charles w r as 
young and ambitious of a name, he determined 
to take forcible possession of his inheritance in 

The success of the enterprise was quite daz- 
zling. Milan, Florence, Rome, were success- 
ively occupied, and finally Charles was actually 
seated upon the throne in Naples (1495). 

But the seat was not comfortable. The 


Neapolitans did not want him ; and, what was 
more important, Spain, England, and Austria 
talked of uniting to drive him out. And so 
he and his army returned to France, and all 
that had been gained by the enterprise was a 
wide-open door between France and Italy at 
the very time when it might better have been 
kept closed, and the discovery by Europe that 
the Italian peninsula was an easy prey to any 
ambitious European power. What Charles had 
done might also, and more effectually, be done 
by England, Spain, or Austria. All of which 
bore bitter fruit in the next century. 

But for France the fruit was of a more 
deadly kind. The princely and noble blood of 
Italy began to be mingled with hers, bringing 
a vicious and corrupt strain at a critical period. 

Old as she was in centuries, France was but 
a child in civilization. An uncouth, untutored 
child, just emerging from barbarism, was sud- 
denly brought under the influence of a fasci- 
nating, highly developed civilization, old in 
wickedness. A nation in which the ruling class 
had only recently learned to read and write was 
naturally dazzled by this sister nation, satu- 
rated with the learning and culture of the ages, 


mistress of every brilliant art and accomplish- 
ment; who after having run the whole gamut 
of human experience, drunk at every known 
fountain, had arrived at the code summed up 
by Machiavelli as the best by which to live! 
It was an easy task for the Medici to control 
the policy, as they did for generations, of such 
simple barbarians. 

Italy presents a strange spectacle in this clos- 
ing fifteenth century: All the concentrated 
splendor from the fall of Byzantium hanging 
over her like a luminous cloud before dispersing 
as the Renaissance; Lorenzo de' Medici, at 
Florence, directing the intellectual currents of 
Europe; Angelo and Raphael creating the 
world's sublimest masterpieces in art ; her great 
Genoese son uncovering another hemisphere; 
Savonarola, like an inspired prophet of old, 
calling upon men to " repent, repent, while 
there is yet time " ; Machiavelli instructing the 
nations of the villainy as a fine art ; and 
Alexander VI., the basest man in Europe, poi- 
soner, father of every crime, claiming to be 
Vicegerent of Christ upon earth ! 

But the currents were moving swiftly toward 
a crisis which was to change all this. One 


more pope, that magnificent patron of art, 
Julius II., creator of the Vatican Museum, 
with the recently found Apollo Belvedere, and 
the Laocoon as a splendid nucleus, and pro- 
jector and builder of St. Peter's. And then Leo 
X. (Medicean Pope) and Luther! 

The year 1492 contained three important 
events : the discovery of a new world, the ex- 
pulsion of the Moors from Spain, and the death 
of Lorenzo de ? Medici. Spain's crusade of 
seven hundred years was over. We must 
search in vain for any struggle to match this 
in singleness and persistence of purpose. Com- 
mencing one hundred years before Charle- 
magne created a Holy Roman Empire, it 
ended triumphantly under a king and queen 
who were to play a leading part in the 

The stage was making ready, and the char- 
acters were assembling for the great modern 
drama, in a century even more significant than 
the one then closing. 

The reign of Charles VIII. ended in 1498. 
And as he left no son, the succession once more 
passed to a collateral branch : Louis XII., of the 
House of Orleans, wore the crown of France. 


i It Is interesting to recall that these two kings, 
Charles and Louis, were respectively grandsons 
of those two ambitions dukes whose personal 
feud brought France to the verge of ruin a few 
decades earlier : Louis XII. being the descend- 
ant of that Duke of Orleans, brother of Charles 
VI., the reigning king, who was murdered in 
the streets of Paris; w^hile Charles VIII. was 
the descendant of his slayer, the terrible Duke 
of Burgundy, evil genius of France at that 

The principal event in the reign of the new 
king Avas the reopening of the Italian War by 
the combined and successful action of Spain 
and France. But this proved a barren triumph 
for Louis, who, when all was done, found that 
he had been simply aiding that artful diplo- 
matist, Ferdinand, in securing the whole prize 
for Spain, The disagreement growing out of 
the distribution of the spoil resulted in a war 
between the late allies; and it was in this 
wretched conflict that Bayard, chevalier sans 
peur et sans reprochc, was sacrificed. 

Louis died in 1515, also without an heir; and 
so the crown passed to still another collateral 
branch of the main Capetian line. The Count 


of Angouleme, cousin of the dead king, was 
proclaimed Francis I. 

The fall of Constantinople in the East, and 
the discovery of a new world in the West, were 
changing the whole aspect of Europe. The art 
of printing, coming almost simultaneously with 
these transforming events, sent vitalizing cur- 
rents reaching even to the humblest. France 
partook of the general awakening and was 
throwing off the torpor of centuries. New 
ambitions were aroused, and her slumbering 
genius began to be stirred. This was a pro- 
pitious moment for an ambitious young king 
who aimed not only at being the greatest of 
military heroes, but also the splendid patron of 
art and letters, and wisest of men! The role 
he had set for himself being, in fact, a Charle- 
magne and a Lorenzo de' Medici in one. All 
that was needed for success in this large field 
was ability. Personal valor -Francis certainly 
possessed. His reign opened brilliantly with a 
campaign in the Italian peninsula, which left 
him after the battle of Marignano, master of 
the Milanese and of northern Italy. He need 
not trouble himself as had his predecessors 
about recalcitrant and scheming nobles. They 


had never been heard from since Louis XL took 
them in hand. Neither were the States-Gen- 
eral going to annoy him by assertion of rights 
and demands for reforms. They too had 
become almost non-existent; it having been 
well established that only the direst emergency 
would ever call them into being again. So 
kingship held sole and undisputed sway, and 
Francis was looking about to see where he 
might make it even stronger. 

The residence of the popes, at Avignon, dur- 
ing the period of the Great Schism, had led to 
the establishment by Charles VII. of an ordi- 
nance called the Pragmatic Sanction; its object 
being the limitation of the papal power in 
France. The pope by this ordinance was cut 
off from certain lucrative sources of income; 
to offset which the king was deprived of the 
right of appointing officers for vacant bishop- 
rics and abbeys. 

Francis I. and Leo X. came together, and, 
after conferring, determined that the Pragmatic 
Sanction should be repudiated; Leo, because 
he must increase his revenues, and Francis, 
because he desired to use appointments to rich 
vacancies as rewards for his friends. Leo's 


tastes, as we know, were magnificent, and 
needed much more money than he could com- 
mand; a fact which led to grave results, and 
changed the course of events in the world ! 

In 1516 Ferdinand L, King of Spain, died, 
leaving his enormous possessions to his grand- 
son, Charles, a youth not yet twenty. The 
mother of this boy was Joanna, the insane 
daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella, who was 
married to the son and heir of Maxmilian L, 
Emperor of Germany. 

The young Charles, by the death of his 
father, had already inherited the Netherlands 
and Flanders ; to which by the death of his ma- 
ternal grandfather there was now added Spain, 
the kingdom of Naples, Mexico, and Peru. A 
heavy enough burden, one would think, for 
young shoulders. But it was to become still 
heavier. In 1519 his other grandfather, Maxi- 
milian I., died, leaving the throne of the empire 

This office by ancient custom, established by 
Charlemagne, was elective, and theoretically 
was open to any prince in Europe. But with 
the seven princes known as electors, with whom 
rested choice of the successor, hereditary claim 


had great weight. Europe saw with dismay 
the imminent creation of an empire greater 
than that of Charlemagne an empire which 
would cover a large part of the map of Europe 
and of America. For none was this so alarm- 
Ing as for France, which would in fact be en- 
veloped upon almost every side by this giant 
among the nations. A French king would 
indeed have been dull and spiritless not to real- 
ize the magnitude of the danger, and Francis 
was neither. There was only a youth of nine- 
teen standing between him and the greatest dig- 
nity in Europe. It was not alone an oppor- 
tunity to save France from this overshadowing 
power, but to reunite the crowns of France and 
the empire as originally designed by Charle- 
magne. No role could have better pleased 
Francis I. He announced himself a claimant 
for the vacant throne (under the clause opening 
it to European princes), claiming that his own- 
ership of the adjacent territory of Northern 
Italy made him the natural successor to the 
Imperial throne. 

Then another ambitious young king ap- 
peared as another rival claimant, Henry VIII. 
of England, with his astute Minister Woolsey 


to fight the diplomatic battles for his master. 
It was a brilliant game, played by great players 
for a great stake: Francis lavishly bribing 
and dazzling by theatrical displays of splendor ; 
Henry arrogant, ostentatious, vain, and Charles 
silent, inscrutable, cold-blooded, and false, 
whispering to Woolsey that he might make him 
pope at the next election. From that moment 
the powerful influence of the Cardinal was used 
for this sedate youth, this wise youth, who saw 
that the fitting place for him (Woolsey) was 
the chair of St. Peter! 

The diplomacy of the boy of nineteen won 
the prize. The electors gave the crown to 
Charles V. Leo X. died soon after. Woolsey 
waited in hourly expectation of the summons to 
Rome. But it never came ! 

Then Francis resolved to win by force what 
he had lost by diplomacy. Charles succeeded 
in winning the pope to his side of the contest 
w r ith the purpose of driving the French out of 
Italy. The attempt quickly ended in the de- 
feat of the French, and for Francis capture, 
and a year's imprisonment in Madrid; his re- 
lease only obtained by abandoning all claims 
upon Italy; and in 1547 the showy and ineffec- 


tual reign of Francis I. was terminated by his 
death, which occurred almost immediately after 
that of Henry VIII. in England. 

While these events were taking place, a less 
conspicuous but vastly more significant conflict 
had developed. In 1517, -Martin Luther, the 
obscure monk, had hurled defiance at the Church 
of Rome, arraigning Leo X. for corrupt prac- 
tices; especially the enrichment of the Church 
by the sale of indulgences. Germany was 
shaken to its centre by Protestantism, and the 
reign of Charles V. was to be spent in ineffect- 
ual conflict with the Reformation, which would 
ultimately tear the Empire asunder. 

The new heresy had found congenial soil in 
France. England was openly and avowedly 
Protestant, while Spain and Italy remained un- 
changeably Catholic. 

For Francis, destined to spend his life in 
fruitless contest with the more able, wily, and 
astute Charles V., the religious question upon 
which Europe was divided meant nothing ex- 
cept at he could use it in his duel with the em- 
peror. He was in turn the ally of Henry VIII. 
or the willing tool of Charles V. If he needed 
the English king's friendship, the Protestants 


had protection. If he desired to placate Charles 
V., the roastings and torturings commenced 

In 1547 Francis and Henry VIII. each went 
to his reward, and a few years later Charles 
V. had laid down his crown and carried his 
weary, unsatisfied heart to St. Yuste. The 
brilliant pageant was over; but Protestantism 
was expanding. 


THE conversion of Henry VIII., because the 
pope refused to annul his marriage with Cath- 
arine, aunt of Charles V., \vas not the proud- 
est, but one of the most important triumphs of 
the new faith. Had Catharine's charms been 
fresher, or Anne Boleyn less alluring, the 
course of history would have been changed. 
Henry VIII., as persecutor of heretics, would 
have found congenial occupation for his fero- 
cious instincts, and the triumph of Protestant- 
ism would have been long delayed. But no 
such cause existed for the success of the Refor- 
mation on French soil. The slumbering germs 
of heresy, left perhaps by Abelard, or by the 
heretics in Toulouse and Provence, were 
quickly warmed into life. It may be also that 
the memory of her desertion by the Church, 
once her only friend and champion, gave such 
intensity to the welcome of a " Reformation " 
by the people. At all events, whatever the ex- 
planation, a religious war was at hand which 


was going to stain the fair name of France 
more even than the treacheries of her civil war. 
The question at issue was deeper than any 
one knew. Neither Luther nor Leo X. under- 
stood the revolution they had precipitated. 
Protestants and Papists alike failed to compre- 
hend the true nature of the struggle, which was 
not for supremacy of Romanist or Protestant ; 
not whether this dogma or that was true, and 
should prevail; but an assertion of the right. of 
every human soul to choose its own faith and 
form of worship. The great battle for human 
liberty had commenced ; the struggle for relig- 
ious liberty was but the prelude to what was to 
follow. There was abundant proof later that 
Protestants no less than Papists needed only 
opportunity and power to be as cruel and in- 
tolerant as their persecutors had been. Before 
the Reformation was fifty years old, Servetus, 
one of the greatest men of his age, a scholar, 
philosopher, and man of irreproachable char- 
acter, was burned at Geneva for heretical views 
concerning the nature of the Trinity; Calvin, 
the great organizer of Protestant theology, giv- 
ing, if not the order for this odious crime, at 
least the nod of approval for its commission. 


France had known many tragedies. But 
when Francis, in pursuance of his Italian policy, 
secured the hand of Catharine de' Medici for 
his son and heir, Henry II, he prepared the 
way for the most tragic event in her history. 
Powerless to win the affection, or even confi- 
dence, of Henry while he lived, Catharine re- 
mained unobserved; but, as the event proved, 
not unobservant. Her astute mind had been 
studying every current in the kingdom. 

Tw r o families had come into prominence dur- 
ing this reign which were to play leading parts 
in the immediate future : the family of Guise, of 
the house of Lorraine, represented by Francis, 
Duke of Guise ; and that of Chatillon, of which 
Admiral Coligny was the head, both of whom 
Catharine hated and had marked for destruc- 

Mary, of the house of Guise, was the wife 
of James VI. of Scotland; and through the 
powerful influence of the Guises, the brothers 
of the Scottish queen, a marriage was arranged 
between her daughter her most serene little 
highness, Marie Stuart and the dauphin, who 
would some day be Francis II. 

In order to be prepared for this high des- 


tiny, the little maid when only five years old 
was brought to the Court of France to be 
trained under the direct influence of the accom- 
plished queen-mother, Catharine undoubtedly, 
although unsuspected then, the worst woman in 
Europe ! Poor little Marie Stuart, predestined 
to sin and to tragedy ! What could be expected 
of a woman with the blood of the Guises in her 
veins, and with Catharine de' Medici as her 
model and teacher ? 

In 1559 Henry II. was killed by an accident 
at a tournament. The marriage of the two 
children had taken place. The sickly boy, with 
only a modest portion of intelligence, was Fran- 
cis II., King of France. Marie, his beautiful 
and adored queen, controlled him utterly, and 
was herself in turn controlled by her uncles of 
the house of Guise. In fact, the family of 
Guise, which was the head of the Catholic party 
in the kingdom, ruled France, with the strange 
result that if Catharine looked for any allies in 
her fight with this ambitious family, she must 
make common cause with the Protestants, led 
by Admiral Coligny, whom she hated only a 
little less than the uncles of Marie Stuart. 

The princes of the house of Bourbon, a re- 


mote branch of the royal family, which, next 
to Francis, were the nearest to the throne, had 
been extremely jealous of the growing power of 
the Guises. Now they saw them, as the ad- 
visers of the young king, actually usurping the 
position which was theirs by right of birth. 

Two factions grew out of this feud in the 
court, and there developed a Bourbon party, 
and the party of the Guises ; one identified with 
the Protestant and the other with the Catholic 

Antony de Bourbon, the head of the family 
of this name, whether from conviction or from 
antagonism to the Guises, had openly espoused 
the Protestant side. It was the rich burghers 
of the towns, in combination with the smaller 
nobles, which composed the Protestant party in 
France. And although the impelling cause of 
the great movement was religious, political 
wrongs had become a powerful contributing 
cause; as is always the case, the discontented 
and aggrieved, for whatever reason, casting in 
their lot with those who had a deeper grievance 
and a more sacred purpose. 

Whether the conversion of the Bourbon 
prince was of that nature or not, who can say? 


But the movement swelled, and France was 
divided into two hostile camps: one under 
the Protestant banner of Antony de Bourbon, 
father of Henry of Navarre, and the other 
under that of the Catholic, Francis, Duke of 
Guise ; and two children were on the throne of 
France while the ground was trembling beneath 
their feet with a coming revolution. 

Francis I. had been too much occupied with 
his own plans to take in hand systematically 
and seriously the prevailing heresy. Henry 
II. , son of Francis, had also temporized with 
the religious revolt, probably not realizing the 
powerful element it contained. Now, with the 
Guises firmly in power, there would be no more 
half-way measures. 

But a crisis was at hand which would change 
the whole situation. The discovery of a plot 
to seize the person of the young king and place 
a Bourbon prince upon the throne, led to a gen- 
eral slaughter. Fresh relays of executioners 
in Paris stood ready to relieve each other when 
exhausted, and the Seine was black with the 
bodies of the drowned. 

During this preliminary storm the frail 
young king, Francis II., suddenly died. Marie 


Stuart passed out of French history, and the 
power of the Guises was at an end. The 
fates were certainly fighting on the side of 

There are hints that the fine Italian hand 
may be seen in this event which at one stroke 
removed every obstacle from her path ! How- 
ever this may be, Catharine wasted no re- 
grets upon the death of a son which made her 
queen regent during the minority of her sec- 
ond son, Charles, now ten years of age (1560). 

There was no time to lose. Her control over 
the feeble Charles IX. before he reached his 
majority must be absolute. Every impulse 
toward mercy must be extinguished. 

What can be said of a mother who seeks to 
exterminate every germ of truth or virtue in 
her son ; who immerses him in degrading vices 
in order to deaden his too sensitive conscience 
and make him a willing tool for her pur- 
poses ? Inheriting the splendid intelligence as 
well as genius for statecraft of the Medici, 
nourished from her infancy upon Machiavel- 
lian principles, cold and cruel by nature, this 
Florentine woman has written her name in 
blood across the pages of French history. 


There were two main ends to be kept in 
view: the destruction of the Guises, and the 
extermination of the Huguenots, as the Protes- 
tants were now called. These were difficult to 
reconcile, but both must be accomplished. 

Coligny, the splendid old admiral and Hu- 
guenot, hero of the nation, he, too, must go. 
And Henry of Navarre, the adored young 
leader of the Huguenots, of course was high 
on the list marked for destruction; but there 
might be other uses for him before that time. 

Never had the Huguenots received such gen- 
tle treatment. Disabilities were removed and 
privileges bestowed. Never was the beautiful 
queen-mother as smiling, gracious, and witty. 
A letter to her uncle, Pope Innocent III., writ- 
ten, it is said, between a dinner and a mas- 
querade, asked if men might not be good 
enough Christians even if they did not believe 
in transubstantiation, and useful subjects even 
though they could not accept the Apostolic 
succession ! 

Then this excellent woman declared her ad- 
miration for the intelligence of the Huguenots, 
whom until now she had believed were mere 
fanatical enthusiasts. Then Henry of Na- 


varre, the brave, generous, accomplished Prot- 
estant leader, was urgently invited to the court, 
and finally even offered the hand of Mar- 
garet of Valois, her daughter, as a compro- 
mise which would heal the rivalry between 
the two faiths. 

And so, on the i8th of August, 1572, Notre 
Dame, grim but splendid, looked down upon 
the marriage of Margaret and Henry, in the 
presence of all the leaders of Huguenot and 
Catholic in France. 

The Protestants wept for joy at the recon- 
ciliation accomplished by this union. And all 
were to remain and partake of the week of fes- 
tivities which were to follow. 

Then, the pageant over, a secret council was 
held in Catharine's apartment in the Louvre, in 
which her remaining son, Henry, participated, 
but from which his brother the king was ex- 
cluded; some wishing to include the Guises in 
the approaching massacre, some urging that 
Henry of Navarre be spared, but all agree- 
ing that Coligny must go; it being, in fact, 
the influence of this magnetic man over the 
young king which was the danger-point com- 
pelling haste and the uncertainty as to wiiat 


her son might do endangered the success of 
the whole plot. 

Charles, who was now king, was impressible, 
easily influenced, yet stubborn, intractable, in- 
coherent, passionate, and unreliable; some- 
times Inclining to the Guises, sometimes to 
Coligny and the Huguenots, and always sub- 
mitting at last, after vain struggle, to his im- 
perious mother's will, in her efforts to free him 
from both. We see in him a weak character, 
not naturally bad. torn to distraction by the 
cruel forces about him, who when compelled to 
yield, as he always did in the end, to that ter- 
rible woman, would give way to fits of impotent 
rage against the fate which allowed him no 

The time had arrived when Catharine feared 
the influence of Coligny more than that of the 
Guises. Brave, patriotic, magnetic, he had 
succeeded in winning Charles's consent to de- 
clare war against Spain. Philip II. of Spain 
was Catharine's son-in-law and closest ally. 
Her entire policy was threatened. At all haz- 
ards Coligny must be gotten rid of. The 
young King of Navarre, adored leader of the 


Protestants, was a constant menace; he, too, 
must in some way be disposed of. 

There were sinister conferences with Philip 
of Spain and with his minister, that incarna- 
tion of cruelty and of the Inquisition, the Duke 
of Alva. 

To the honor of France it may be said that 
the initiative, the inception of the horrid deed 
which was preparing was not French. It was 
conceived in the brain of either this Italian 
woman or her Spanish adviser and co-con- 
spirator, the Duke of Alva. We shall never 
know the inside history of the Massacre of St. 
Bartholomew. It must ever remain a matter 
of conjecture just how and when it was planned, 
but the probabilities point strongly one way. 

Charles was to be gradually prepared for It 
by his mother. By working upon -his fears, 
his suspicions, by stories of plottings against 
his life and his kingdom, she w r as to infuriate 
him ; and then, while his rage was at its height, 
the opportunity for action must be at hand. 
The marriage of Charles's sister Margaret with 
the young Protestant leader Henry of Navarre, 
with its promise of future protection to the Hu- 
guenots, was part of the plot. It would lure 


all the leaders of the cause to Paris. Coligny, 
Conde, all the heads of the party, were urgently 
invited to attend the marriage feast which was 
to inaugurate an era of peace. 

Admiral Coligny was requested by Catha- 
rine, simply as a measure of protection to the 
Protestants, to have an additional regiment of 
guards in Paris, to act in case of any unfore- 
seen violence. 

Two days after the marriage, and while the 
festivities were at their height, an attempt upon 
the life of the old admiral awoke suspicion and 
alarm. But Catharine and her son went im- 
mediately in person to see the wounded old man, 
and to express their grief and horror at the 
event. They commanded that a careful list of 
the names and abode of every Protestant in 
Paris be made, in order, as they said, " to take 
them under their own immediate protection." 
" My dear father," said the king, " the hurt is 
yours, the grief is mine." 

At that moment the knives were already 
sharpened, every man instructed in his part in 
the hideous drama, and the signal for its com- 
mencement determined upon. Charles did not 
know it, but his mother did. She went to her 


son's room that night, artfully and eloquently 
pictured the danger he was in, confessed to him 
that she had authorized the attempt upon Co- 
ligny, but that it was done because of the ad- 
miral's plottings against him, which she had 
discovered. But the Guises her enemies and 
his they knew it, and would denounce her and 
the king ! The only thing now Is to finish the 
work. He must die. 

Charles was in frightful agitation and stub- 
bornly refused. Finalty, with an air of of- 
fended dignity, she bowed coldly and said to her 
son, " Sir, will you permit me to withdraw' with 
my daughter from your kingdom?" The 
wretched Charles was conquered. In a sort of 
insane fury he exclaimed, " Well, let them kill 
him, and all the rest of the Huguenots too. 
See that not one remains to reproach me." 

This was more than she had hoped. All was 
easy now. So eager was she to give the order 
before a change of mood, that she flew herself 
to give the signal, fully two hours earlier than 
was expected. At midnight the tocsin rang out 
upon the night, and the horror began. 

Lulled to a feeling of security by artfully con- 
trived circumstances, husbands, wives, sons, 


daughters, peacefully sleeping, were awakened 
to see each other hideously slaughtered. 

The stars have looked down upon some ter- 
rible scenes in Paris ; her stones are not unac- 
quainted with the taste of human blood; but 
never had there been anything like this. The 
carnage of battle is merciful compared with it. 
Shrieking women and children, half-clothed, 
fleeing from knives already dripping with 
human blood; frantic mothers shielding the 
bodies of their children, and wives pleading for 
the lives of husbands ; the living hiding beneath 
the bodies of the dead. 

The cry that ascended to Heaven from Paris 
that night was the most awful and despairing 
in the world's history. It was centuries of 
cruelty crowded into a few hours. 

The number slain can never be accurately 
stated, but it was thousands. Human blood 
is intoxicating. An orgy set in which laughed 
at orders to cease. Seven days it continued, 
and then died out for lack of material. The 
provinces had caught the contagion, and orders 
to slay were received and obeyed in all except 
two, the Governor of Bayonne, to his honor be 
it told, writing to the king in reply : " Your 


Majesty has many faithful subjects In Bayonne, 
but not one executioner/' 

And where was "his Majesty" while this 
work was being done ? How was it with Cath- 
arine ? We hear of no regrets, no misgivings ; 
that she was calm, collected, suave, and unfath- 
omable as ever ; but that Charles, in a strange, 
half-frenzied state, was amusing himself by 
firing from the windows of the palace at the 
fleeing Huguenots. Had he killed himself in 
remorse, would it not have been better, instead 
of lingering two wretched years, a prey to 
mental tortures and an inscrutable malady, be- 
fore he died? 

Europe was shocked. Christendom averted 
her face in horror. But at Madrid and Rome 
there was satisfaction. 

Catharine and the Duke of Alva had done 
their work skilfully, but the result surprised 
and disappointed them. Tens of thousands of 
Huguenots were slain, which was well; but 
many times that number remained, with spirit 
unbroken, which was not well. 

They had been too merciful! Why had 
Henry of Navarre been spared ? Had not Alva 
said, " Take the big fish, and let the small fry 


go. One salmon is worth more than a thou- 
sand frogs." 

But Charles considered the matter settled 
when he uttered those swelling words to Henry 
of Navarre the day after the massacre : " I 
mean in future to have one religion in my king- 
dom. It is the Mass or death." 

All the events leading up to that fateful 
night, August 24, 1572, may never be known. 
Near the Church of St. Germain d'Auxerrois, 
which rang out the signal and was mute wit- 
ness of the horror, has just been erected the 
statue of the great Coligny, bearing the above 

The miserable Charles was not quite base 
enough for the part he had played. Tormented 
with memories, haggard with remorse, he felt 
that he was dying. His suspicious eyes turned 
upon his mother, well versed in poisons, as he 
knew; and, as he also knew, capable of any- 
thing. Was this wasting away the result of 
a drug? Mind and body gave way under the 
strain. In 1574, less than two years from the 
hideous event, Charles IX. was dead. 

Catharine's third son now wore the crown of 
France. In Henry III. she had as pliant an 


instrument for her will as in the two brothers 
preceding him; and, like them, his reign was 
spent in alternating conflict with the Protes- 
tants and the Duke of Guise. At last, wearied 

and exasperated, this hall-Italian and altogether 
conscienceless king quite naturally thought of 
the stiletto. The old duke, as lie entered the 
king's apartment by invitation, was stricken 
down by assassins hidden for that purpose. 

Henry had not counted on the rebound from 
that blow. Catholic France was excited to 
such popular fury against him that he threw 
himself into the arms of the Protestants, im- 
ploring their aid in keeping his crown and his 
kingdom; and when himself assassinated, a 
year later, the Valois line had become extinct. 

By the Salic Law, Henry of Navarre was 
King of France. The Bourbon branch had 
left the parent stem as long ago as the reign 
of Louis the Saint. But as all the other Cape- 
tian branches had disappeared, the right of the 
plumed knight to the crown was beyond a ques- 
tion. So a Protestant and a Huguenot was 
King of France. 


AFTER long wandering in strange seas, we 
come in view of familiar lights and headlands. 
With the advent of the house of Bourbon, we 
have grasped a thread which leads directly 

down to our own time. 

The accession of a Protestant king was 
hailed with delirious joy by the Huguenots, and 
with corresponding rage by Catholic France. 
The one looked forward to redressing of 
wrongs and avenging of injuries; and the other 
flatly refused submission unless Henry should 
recant his heresy and become a convert to the 
true faith. 

The new king saw there was no bed of roses 
preparing for him. After four years of effort 
to reconcile the irreconcilable, he decided upon 
his course. He was not called to the throne to 
rule over Protestant France, nor to be an in- 
strument of vengeance for the Huguenots. 


He saw that the highest good of the kingdom 
required not that he should impose upon it 
either form of belief or worship, but give equal 
opportunity and privilege to both. 

To the consternation of the Huguenots, he 
announced himself ready to listen to the argu- 
ments in favor of the religion of Rome; and 
it took just five hours of deliberation to con- 
vince him of its truth. He declared him- 
self ready to abjure his old faith. Bitter re- 
proaches on the one side and rejoicings on the 
other greeted this decision. It was not heroic. 
But many even among the Protestants ac- 
knowledged it to be an act of supreme political 

Peace was restored, and the Edict of Nantes, 
which quickly followed, proved to his old 
friends, the Huguenots, that they were not 
forgotten. The Protestants, with disabilities 
removed, shared equal privileges with the 
Catholics throughout the kingdom, and the first 
victory for religious liberty was splendidly won. 

An era of unexampled prosperity dawned. 
Never had the kingdom been so wisely and 
beneficently governed. Sincerity, simplicity, 
and sympathy had taken the place of dissimu- 


lation, craft, and cruelty. Uplifting- agencies 
were everywhere at work, reaching even to the 

peasantry, that forgotten element in the nation. 

The formal abjuration of the Protestant faith 

was made bv the King in the Church of St. 

* o 

Denis in 1593. This church also witnessed 
the marriage of Henry with Marie de' Medici, 
after his release from her debased relative, 
Margaret of Valois, daughter of Catharine de' 
Medici. Henry IV., great although he was, 
was not above the ordinary weaknesses of hu- 
manity, and, captivated by the beauty of Marie, 
was a willing party to the Italian marriage 
which was urged upon him, which marriage 
was the one mistake of a great reign. 

It was not to be expected that any minister 
would rise to the full stature of Henry IV. at 
this time. But in the Duke of Sully he had a 
wise and efficient instrument for his plan, which 
was out of the chaos left by the devastation of 
thirty years of religious wars, to evolve peace 
and prosperity; and to create economic condi- 
tions upon a foundation insuring growth and 

The royal authority, impaired by the succes- 
sors of Francis, must first be restored. And to 


that end all political elements, including the 
States General, must be held firmly down ; and 
that body, representing the Tiers Etat, was 
never summoned after France was well in hand 
by the king who was par excellence the friend 
of the people ! 

It is the Edict of Xantes which stands pre- 
eminent among- the events of this reign, and 
which is Henry's monument in the annals of 
France. His foreign policy was controlled 
by a desire to check the preponderance of the 
Hapsburgs; that being. In fact the dominant 
sentiment in Europe at that time. But a re- 
markable proof of the breadth of his treatment 
of this subject is the plan he formulated of a 
European tribunal composed of the five great 
powers, which should insist upon the mainte- 
nance of a balance of power a phrase com- 
mon enough now, but heard then for the first 
time ; and which had for its immediate purpose 
the separating of the crown of Spain and the 
empire, by forbidding their being held by mem- 
bers of the same family, and of course designed 
as a check upon the Hapsburgs. 

This was a pet theory with Henry, and the 
subject of much discussion with Sully and of 


negotiation with Elizabeth, Queen of England, 
at the very time when Philip II. of Spain, in 
pursuance of a precisely opposite policy, had 
been moving heaven and earth to bring about 
a marriage with that extraordinary sister of 
his dead wife Mary. Henry did not witness 
the realization of his dream. But time has jus- 
tified its wisdom, and modern statesmanship 
has been able to devise no wiser plan than that 
conceived in the mind of this enlightened king 
nearly three centuries ago. 

How much France lost by Ravaillac's dag- 
ger can only be surmised, and when Henry, 
fatally stricken (1610), was carried dying into 
the Louvre, a cry- of grief arose from Catholic 
and Protestant alike throughout the kingdom. 
After a reign of twenty-one years, the saga- 
cious ruler, who had done more than any other 
to make the country great and happy, was the 
victim of assassination. And France once more 
was the sport of a cruel fate which placed her in 
the hands of a woman and a Medici. Marie, 
the widow of Henry IV., was appointed regent 
during the minority of her son Louis aged ten 

The regency of this woman is a story of 


cabals and the intrigues of aspiring" favorites. 
If Marie had not the ability of her great kins- 
woman Catharine, it must be confessed neither 
had she her darker vices. She was simply in- 
triguing and vulgar, and the willing instrument 
for designing people cleverer than herself. So 
powerful was the influence of Eleonora Galigai 
and her husband. Concini, both Italians like 
herself, that in that superstitious age it was as- 
cribed to magic. Marie became the mere sec- 
retary to record the wishes of these parasites. 
Concini was made marquis, then minister. 
Whom he commended was elevated, and whom 
he denounced was abased. Public indignation 
reached its climax when this adventurer was 
finally created Marshal of France, before whom 
counts and dukes must bow. So furious was 
the storm raised by this, that Marie declared 
her willingness to surrender the regency, and 
after summoning the States General she pre- 
sented her son, Louis XIII., thirteen years of 
age, declaring that he was qualified to reign. 

Only once again was this body to be called 
together. That was in 1789, by Louis XVI., 
when it was transformed into a National As- 


But when it was discovered that the power 
of the detested pair was as great behind the 
boy king as it had been behind his mother, the 
storm gathered again from all parts of the king- 
dom. It was France in struggle with Concini, 
the man who was audaciously sending princes 
of the blood and dukes to the Bastille. 

But a counter-influence was weaving about 
Louis. He was made to realize the indignity 
to himself in letting two vulgar Italians usurp 
his authority. Thus Albert de Luynes, his 
adored friend, procured his signature to a paper 
ordering the immediate destruction of Concini 
and his wife. And when Louis had seen Con- 
cini despatched by his own agents in the court 
of the Louvre, and the arrest, trial, and execu- 
tion of Eleonora (upon the charge of sorcery), 
he completed the work by banishing his mother, 
only to fall immediately into the power of Al- 
beit de Luynes, himself an intriguing parasite, 
who intended to play the very same role as the 
pair he had overthrown. 

The clever Eleonora, when arraigned on the 
charge of sorcery, replied, " The only magic I 
have used is that of a strong mind over a weak 
one." Albert de Luynes's head was never car- 


ried about Paris on a pike, as was hers. But 
he experimented with the same kind of magic. 

This wretched period after the death of the 
great Henry had occupied twelve years. But 
in 1622 Cardinal Richelieu took his seat among 
the advisers of the king. The true man had 
been found. King, nobles, people of all ranks 
and religions, realized that a master had ap- 
peared in the land ; a master inscrutable in his 
purposes, and clothed with a mysterious power. 

The foundations of this man's policy lay 
deep, out of sight of all save his own far- 
reaching intelligence. Pitiless as an iceberg, 
he crushed every obstacle to his purpose. Im- 
partial as fate, with no loves, no hatreds, catho- 
lics, protestants, nobles, parliaments, one after 
another were borne down before his determina- 
tion to make the king, what he had not been 
since Charlemagne, supreme in France. 

The will of the great minister mowed down 
like a scythe. The power of the grandees, that 
last remnant of feudalism, and a perpetual 
menace to monarchy, was swept away. One 
great noble after another was humiliated and 
shorn of his privileges, if not of his head. 

The Huguenots, being first shaken into sub- 


mission, saw their political liberties torn from 
them by the stroke of a pen ; and even while the 
Catholics were making merry over this discom- 
fiture the minister was planning- to send Hen- 
rietta, sister of the king, across the channel to 
become queen of Protestant England, as wife 
of Charles I. But the act of supreme audacity 
was to come. This high prelate of the Church, 
this cardinal-minister, formed an alliance with 
Gusiavus Adolphus, the great leader of the 
Protestants in the war upon the emperor and 
the pope ! 

He allowed no religion, no class, to sway or 
to hold him. He was for France; and her 
greatness and glory augmented under his ruth- 
less dominion. By his extraordinary genius he 
made the reign of a commonplace king one of 
dazzling splendor; and while gratifying his 
own colossal ambition, he so strengthened the 
foundations of the monarchy that princes of the 
blood themselves could not shake it. 

It was great, it was dazzling, but of all his 
work there is but one thing which revolutions 
and time have not swept away : the " French 
Academy" alone survives as his monument. 
Out of a gathering of literary friends he ere- 


ated a national institution, its object the estab- 
lishing a court of last appeal in all that makes 
for eloquence in speaking or writing the French 
language. In a country where few things en- 
dure, this has remained unchanged for two 
hundred and thirty years. 

But this master of statecraft, this creator of 
despotic monarchy, had one unsatisfied ambi- 
tion. He would have exchanged all his honors 
for the ability to write one play like those of 
Corneille. Hungering for literary distinction, 
he could not have gotten into his own Academy 
had he not created it. And jealous of his 
laurels, he hated Corneille as much as he did 
the enemies of France. 

The feeble King Louis XIII. manifested 
wisdom in at least one thing. He permitted 
this greatest statesman of his time, and one of 
the greatest perhaps of all time, to have a free 
hand in managing his kingdom. And what- 
ever the pressure from the queen-mother, from 
cabals and intriguing nobles, he never yielded 
the point, but kept his great minister in his ser- 
vice as long as they both lived. This was espe- 
cially commendable in Louis because they were 
personally antagonistic, and also because the 


queen-mother constantly used her powerful In- 
fluence over her son for his downfall. 

Marie had been permitted to return to Paris, 
where her son, perhaps to console her for the 
loss of the Concinis, had built for her the 
Palais de Luxembourg, intended as a remi- 
niscence of her dear Italy, with its Medicean ar- 
chitecture and Italian gardens and fountains. 
Here she held her little court in great splendor, 
and here she wove her ineffectual webs for 
Richelieu's defeat and downfall. It is said that 
at one time Louis at her instigation had ac- 
tually taken the pen in hand to sign the order 
for his minister's disgrace, when that vigilant 
and omniscient being, perfectly aware of what 
was occurring, appeared from behind the cur- 
tains. And Louis, quailing before the superior 
will of a master, sent his vicious, intriguing 
mother into perpetual banishment And we 
are told that Marie, the subject of those Im- 
mortal canvases now at the Louvre, was ac- 
tually sheltered and fed by the great painter at 
his own home in the day of her disgrace and 

It is not strange that Peter the Great pro- 
nounced Richelieu the model statesman ! Their 


Ideals were the same. The minister Intended 
that everything In France should lie helpless at 
the feet of royalty ; that kingship should absorb 
Into Itself every source of power. While Crom- 
well was tearing down a throne in England and 
kading a king to a scaffold, Richelieu, facing 
every class, current, and force, was making the 
throne impregnable in France, and preparing 
a magnificent inheritance for the infant Louis 
XIV., then in his cradle. 

Queen-mother, nobles, parliaments, and 
Protestants must be taught to obey. The Hu- 
guenots at the siege of La Rochelle, lasting 
fifteen months, learned their lesson. The pun- 
ishment for their revolt was the loss of every 
military and political privilege. But although 
there were to be no more political assemblies, 
the edict of Nantes was to be rigidly enforced, 
and their rights and immunities under It made 
inviolable. Louis the King saw his most in- 
timate friend. Cinq Mars, sent to the scaffold ; 
his brother Gaston, Duke of Orleans, thrown 
into the Bastille like a common prisoner; his 
mother in exile and poverty. But he also saw 
himself without the trouble of governing, sur- 
rounded by homage and adulation, towering 


high above everything else In France, and was 


The growing power of Austria and the as- 
cendency of the Hapsburgs was, as we have 
seen, the nightmare of Europe at this period. 
But the Reformation was tearing the empire 
almost asunder. A Protestant Prussia was 
trying to straggle away from a Catholic Aus- 
tria. Richelieu cared nothing for Catholics 
nor for Protestants. His aim was to weaken 
the hands of the Hapsburgs. And if he joined 
the Protestant leader Gustavus Adolphus in a 
religious crusade, it was with this end in view. 

The marriage of Louis with the Infanta of 
Spain, known as Anne of Austria, was doubt- 
less a part of the same line of policy, and was 
the beginning of many attempts to draw the 
Spanish peninsula under the control of France. 

When the end of all these schemings arrived, 
on the 4th day of December, 1642, Richelieu 
calmly laid down to die in his princely resi- 
dence known at that time as the Palais Car- 
dinal. But as it was his dying gift to the king, 
the name was changed to the Palais Royal. 
Upon the death of Louis XIIL, which occurred 
in 1643, onl }' a few months after that of his 


minister, the widowed Queen Anne, with her 
Infant son, Louis XIV., removed from the 
Louvre to the Palais Royal, which continued 
to be the residence of the Grand Monarch for 

some time after his majority. 

Anne was appointed regent for her son, net 
yet five years old, and, to the surprise of even-- 
one, immediately called to her aid as her ad- 
viser not a Frenchman, as was expected, but 
an Italian, Cardinal Mazarin. So the fate of 
the kingdom was in the hands of two foreign- 
ers, a Spanish queen-regent and an Italian 

Richelieu's and Mazarin's methods were the 
opposite of each other. One was direct, the 
other tortuous and indirect. In true Italian 
fashion Mazarin overcame by seeming to yield ; 
and what he said was the thing he did not mean. 
Intrigue and briber}- were his Implements and 

The situation awoke distrust. It was a time 
to recover lost privileges, and to struggle out of 
the chains riveted by Richelieu. A civil war 
known as the Fronde was the result. 

As all classes had grievances, all were repre- 
sented In this general undoing of the last min- 


ister's great work. But as no two classes de- 
sired the same thing, the miserable war, without 
genius and without system, miserably failed. 
The royal cause triumphed; and Richelieu's 
political structure was not even shaken. Maz- 
arin stood inflexibly by the work of his great 
predecessor. Turenne and Conde were the 
military heroes of this, as well as of the subse- 
quent foreign wars, resulting in the acquisition 
of Alsace (1648) and other great territorial 

When Cardinal Mazarin died in 1661, the 
young king was asked to whom the ministers 
should bring their portfolios. To which came 
the unexpected reply, " To me." 


THE wily Italian was gone, and Louis XIV. 

settled himself upon the throne which Riche- 
lieu had rendered so exalted and immovable. 

Cardinal Mazarin had said of the young 
Louis that " there was enough in him to make 
four kings, and one honest man." His great- 
ness consisted more in amplitude than in kind. 
Nature made him in prodigal mood. He was 
an average man of colossal proportions. His 
ability, courage, dignity, industry, greed for 
power and possessions, were all on a magnifi- 
cent scale, and so were his vanity, his loves, his 
cruelties, his pleasures, his triumphs, and his 

No king more wickedly oppressed France, 
and none made her more glorious. He made 
her feared abroad and magnificent at home, but 
he desolated her, and drained her resources 
with ambitious wars. He crowned her with 


imperishable laurels in literature, art, and every 
manifestation of genius, but he signed the 
Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, and drove 
out of his kingdom 500,000 of the best of his 

The marriage of the Dauphin with the In- 
fanta of Spain had occurred before he attained 
his majority. It was planned by Mazarin, and 
was a part of the policy left as a fatal bequest 
to Louis XIV. by that minister. 

The Salic Law was not recognized in Spain. 
Hence, the crown might descend to an heiress, 
r.r.d by her be transmitted to her husband. 
Such was the hope in the marriage of Louis 
with the Infanta ; the hope of some happy turn 
of fortune, some break in the line of succession 
whereby the Spanish kingdom might be ab- 
sorbed into a Bourbon empire, as it had once 
been in the empire of the Hapsbttrgs. This 
was the ignis fafuus which was to control the 
policy of this stormy reign, and which was to 
envelop it at last in the clouds of defeat and 

The secret of Louis 5 greatness was his in- 
stinctive recognition of greatness in others. 
His new minister, Colbert, to whom he owed 


so much, was a man of the people, and a prot- 
estant. He it was who discovered the pecula- 
tions of Fouquet, the magnificent Minister of 
Finance, who was building a palace at Vaux 
greater than the king himself could afford, and 
who was suddenly swept from this princely 
residence into the Bastille, where he spent the 
remaining years of his life with plenty of lei- 
sure in which to think upon the forty thousand 
pounds he had expended upon that fete he gave 
in honor of his royal master ; and to recall the 
splendors of the supper and the size of the ban- 
queting-haPi, which Mansart, Le Brun, and the 
best that Italy could furnish at that time had 
made beautiful. 

It is said that the unfortunate visit of the 
king to his minister's abode resulted in the 
creation of Versailles as a suburban residence. 
From the Palais de St. Germain,, on the heights 
in the suburbs of Paris, Louis could see the 
Cathedral of St. Denis, where were the royal 
vaults and the ancestors he must some day join. 
So depressing was this view to him, and so 
charmed was he with the plan of Fouquet's pal- 
ace and gardens, that artists were immediately 
set to work to make one more royal at Ver- 


sallies, where his father, Louis XIII., used to 
have his hunting-box; the place where that 
much-governed king used to go to hide away 
from his scheming mother and his argus-eyed 
minister. The genius of Colbert was severely 
taxed to supply the means for Louis' magnifi- 
cent tastes and for his foreign wars, at the same 
time. Even Colbert could not create money 
out of nothing. The burden must rest some- 
where, and just as surely must ultimately 
be borne by the people. 

The choice of Louvois as Minister of War 
was no less happy than that of Colbert in 
Finance. And with Vauban to build his de- 
fences, Turenne and Luxembourg and the great 
Conde to lead his armies, it is not strange that 
there were victories. 

The four great wars of Louis' reign were 
not for theatrical effect, like that of the fanciful 
Charles VIIL in Italy. They were all in pur- 
suance of a serious and definite purpose. Just 
or unjust, wise or unwise, they were planned 
in order to reach some boundary, or to secure 
some strategic position essential to France. 
These wars were : 

First The war upon the Spanish Nether- 


lands, ending with the Treaty of Aix-la-Cha- 
pelle, 1668. 

Second The invasion of the Dutch Repub- 
lic, ending with the peace of Nymwegen, 1678. 

Third War with the coalition of European 
States, closing with the Treaty of Ryswick, 

Fourth War of the Spanish Succession, 
closed by the Treaty of Utrecht, 1713. 

The first of these wars, undertaken because 
Louis believed and intended that Flanders 
should belong to France, to which it was geo- 
graphically allied, was ostensibly undertaken in 
order to recover the unpaid down 7 which had 
been promised by Spain in exchange for Louis' 
renunciation of any claim upon the throne of 
Spain which might result from his marriage 
with the Infanta Maria Theresa. His con- 
quest of the Spanish possessions in Flanders 
might have been supposed to set at rest for- 
ever the question of a claim upon the Span- 
ish throne. But we shall hear of that again. 
The success of this war made Louis, at twenty- 
nine years of age, the most heroic figure in 
Europe. Every one bowed before him, and 
everything seemed to be gravitating toward 


him as toward a central sun. Not alone nobil- 
ity, but even genius put on his livery and 
became sycophantish, Bossuet and even Mo- 
liere, hungering for his smile, and in despair, 
if he frowned. 

This was the time of the supremacy of the 
beautiful Louise la Valliere. Her reign was 
brief, and, the king's infatuation being passed, 
she was to spend the rest of her dreary life in 
a Carmelite convent, hearing only the far-off 
echoes from the brilliant world in which she was 
once the central and envied figure. 

The Dutch Republic had come under Louis' 
displeasure and was marked for his next for- 
eign campaign. This (to his mind) insignif- 
icant nation of fishermen and small traders 
had presumed to stand in his path. So the 
most magnificent army since the Crusades in 
1672 invaded the peaceful little state of Hol- 
land. As one after another of the cities help- 
lessly fell, someone asked why Louis came 
himself why he did not send his valet? 
Louis insolently demanded as the price of 
peace the surrender of all their fortified cities, 
the payment of twenty million francs, and the 
renunciation of the Protestant faith. 


The answer of William of Nassau was an 
unexpected one. The history of modern times 
has nothing more heroic than this little mer- 
cantile state defying the greatest potentate in 
Europe. William of Nassau knew perfectly 
well that every battle meant defeat. The 
thing to do was to make battles impossible by 
inundating their fertile fields. When he saw 
the destruction of life and property in one scale 
and political slaver}- in the other, he did not 
hesitate. The dikes were quietly opened. 
Turenne and Luxembourg and Vauban were 
baffled as completely as Napoleon in Russia. 
And when the magnificent army had evacuated 
the flooded country, the dikes were quietly 
closed again and time and windmills restored 
their fields to fertility. 

In the meantime William had been drawing 
to himself powerful allies. Half of Europe 
was in league with him in the battles he now 
fought upon the Rhine. But the French were 
victorious. And after the peace of Nym- 
w r egen, 1678, Louis had reached the zenith of 
his power. 

Human pretension and arrogance could go 
no farther. He began to feel that France was 


his own personal possession and that Europe 
might be. It was the combination of a great 
king with a small man which produced this 
composite being. He had built Versailles, a 
palace unmatched since the Caesars. He not 
only commanded the presence, but the obse- 
quious presence of all that was illustrious and 
great at a time when France was in the full 
flower of her splendid genius. Corneille, 
Racine, Moliere, if permitted to be, must pay 
him an almost idolatrous homage. The beau- 
tiful Valliere was sent away, and de Montes- 
pan's reign had commenced. 

But when Colbert died in 1685, Louis fell 
under an influence which was to be transform- 
ing. He had been burning the illuminating oil 
of youth at very high pressure. Perhaps it was 
exhausted. He grew serious. De Montespan 
was sent away the orgies at Versailles ceased, 
the court became decorous, almost austere, 
and with the awakening of conscience, of 
course, the king became more sensitive to the 
heresies of the Huguenots ! 

He was drifting toward the fatal mistake of 
his life. He revoked the Edict of Nantes. 
Two millions of people by the stroke of his pen, 


at the bidding of de Maintenon, were disfran- 
chised ; prohibited under severe penalties from 
any observance of their religion ; their property 
confiscated., an attempt to flee from the country 
punished by the galleys. 

The prisons were full of Protestants and the 
scaffolds dyed with their blood. Two hundred 
thousand perished by imprisonment, by the gal- 
leys, and the executioner; while two hundred 
thousand more managed to escape to America 
and to the lands of the enemies of France, which 
they would enrich with their skill. 

Not a word of protest came from a person in 
France. Not even from Fenelon or Bossuet! 
Madame de Maintenon told him it was the 
" glorious climax of a glorious reign." Madame 
de Sevigne said it was " magnificent ! " And 
Bossuet, greatest of French divines, exclaimed, 
" It is the miracle of the century! " 

France at one stroke was impoverished. 
The skill, the trained hand, the element which 
was at the foundation of her excellence, and of 
that which was to constitute her future suprem- 
acy in the world, had gone to enrich her ene- 
mies. And whether in Germany, in England, 
or America, no foreign people have had such 


glad welcome as was given to the Hugue- 

Then came the rebound in a form not ex- 
pected. William of Orange was now King of 
England. James had been driven off his 
throne, and his daughter Mary and her hus- 
band, William of Orange, wore the double 
crown. All the hostile European states, under 
William's leadership, sprang together for the 
common defence of Europe from this detested 

The smothered hatred of Holland and every 
protestant state burst into flame, and the great 
War of the Coalition commenced. Beginning 
with the League of Augsburg, in 1688, it con- 
tinued until the peace of Ryswick, 1697, with 
the defeat of France all along the line. 

Humiliated and broken, there remained for 
the king an opportunity to retrieve the past 
by attaching the Spanish peninsula to France. 
There was a vacant throne at Madrid which his 
grandson Philip, through the neglected Queen 
Maria Theresa, might claim as his inheritance. 
Such were the conditions which might still 
change defeat into triumph. The fact that the 
right to the succession had been waived by the 


king was easily disposed of. Philip, Louis' 
grandson, presented his claim in competition 
with that of the son of Leopold I., Emperor of 
Germany. When the pope, with whom the de- 
cision lay, decided in favor of Philip, grand- 
son of the great Louis, all Europe sprang to the 
aid of the Austrian archduke in the war of the 
Spanish succession. 

It was a little side play in the opening of this 
great drama, which brought the kingdom of 
Prussia into existence. Frederick, elector of 
Brandenburg, when called upon to arm by the 
emperor, refused to do so except upon one con- 
dition: that he might wear the title of king 
instead of elector; which condition was 
granted, with the stipulation that the name of 
Prussia, a detached piece of territory the an- 
cestors of Frederick had cut out of the side of 
Russia, be substituted for Brandenburg. So 
out of this war of personal ambition there had 
sprung a new kingdom, the kingdom of Prus- 
sia, of which France was to hear much in the 

England was not eager to join the new coali- 
tion in defence of the Hapsburg, whom in com- 
mon with the rest of Europe she had for years 


been trying to pull down. But when Louis 
insolently espoused the cause of the exiled King 
James, and promised by force to place the pre- 
tender on the throne, then she needed no urg- 
ing, and sent Marlborough and the flower o 
her army to join Prince Eugene in Germany. 

It was Marlborough at Blenheim (1702) 
who drove the iron of defeat into the soul of 
Louis XIV. When the war was ended he had 
made every concession demanded ; had given up 
a vast extent of territory ; banished the English 
pretender from his kingdom; and acknowl- 
edged Anne as queen of Great Britain. 

By the provisions of the treaty (the Peace of 
Utrecht) Gibraltar passed to England; Spain 
ceded the Netherlands and all her possessions 
in Italy to the German empire. And so the fine 
threads diplomacy had been spinning over the 
Continent for two centuries were ruthlessly 
brushed away as a spider's web. 

An imbittered, broken old man, shorn of his 
omnipotence, who had outlived his fame and his 
worshippers, was dying in his great palace at 
Versailles; his only solace the austere woman 
who had inspired the Revocation of the Edict 
of Nantes, and who upon the death of his un- 


happy queen he had privately made his wife. 
Marie Therese had borne his mad infatuation 
for Louise la Valliere; la Valliere had carried 
her broken heart to a convent, and been super- 
seded by de Montespan, and de Montespan had 
invited her own destruction by bringing into 
her household Madame de Maintenon, the pious 
widow of the poet Scarron, in order that the 
austere virtues of that lady might be engrafted 
upon the children of the royal household. 
Grave, ambitious, talented, the governess of 
de Montespan's children was not too much 
absorbed in her duties to find ways of estab- 
lishing an influence over the king. 

This man, who had absorbed into himself all 
the functions of the government, who was min- 
isters, magistrates, parliaments, all in one, this 
central sun of whom Corneille, Moliere, Racine 
were but single rays, was destined to be en- 
slaved in his old age by a designing adventur- 
ess; her will his law. The hey-day of youth 
having passed, he was beginning to be anxious 
about his soul. She artfully pricked his con- 
science, and de Montespan was sent away, but 
de Maintenon remained. 

She next convinced him that the only fitting 


atonement for his sins was to drive heresy out 
of his kingdom, and re-establish the true faith 
At her bidding he undid the glorious work of 
Henry IV., signed the Revocation of the Edict 
of Nantes, and brutally stamped out Protes- 

During the seventeenth and eighteenth cen- 
turies the stake in the great game played in 
Europe was the headship, the pre-eminent posi- 
tion held by the house of Hapsburg. The 
entire reign of Louis XIV. had had this for its 
ultimate object. He seemed many times near 
it ; but was never to reach the goal. The ab- 
sorption of Spain was a last and desperate 
attempt. It had failed. France had not won 
the leadership of European civilization. 

In the coming reign, new forces, new condi- 
tions, were to widen the field of national ambi- 
tions. And it was the nation across the channel 
which would grasp these forces and distance 
her rivals in an advance along the untried paths 
of commerce and a world-wide expansion. 

With a strange apathy France had seen her- 
self mistress of a large part of the American 
Continent, won for her by adventurous French- 
men and Catholic missionaries. She did prac- 


tically nothing to develop this magnificent co- 
lonial empire. Failing to comprehend chang- 
ing conditions, the same old problem, with a 
towering house of Hapsburg, obscured her 
view, and remained the great unchanging fact 
about which her policy revolved. 

Louis XV. was five years old when, in 1/15, 
he became heir to a throne absolutely rigid. 
The best work of Richelieu and Mazarin and 
Louis XIV. had been expended upon it. Ab- 
solutism could go no farther. The king was 
all; next below him a fawning, obsequious 
nobility, and then that vague entity known as 
" the people," a remote invisible force, sustain- 
ing the weight of the splendid pyramid, the 
apex of which was this boy of five. 

The young Louis was being prepared to sit 
upon this giddy elevation. The Duke of Or- 
leans, his accomplished cousin, a competent 
instructor in vice, was chosen as regent, and 
the royal education began. The best and rarest 
of the world's culture was at his service. 
Fenelon, the polished ecclesiastic, fed him the 
classics in tempting form from his own Tele- 
maque, written for the purpose. Although this 
work was later suppressed by the boy's royal 


father tinder the suspicion of being a covert 
satire upon his own reign, in which Madame 
de Alontespan was represented by Calypso ; and 
other famous or infamous members of his court 
also appeared in thin disguise. 

The handsome boy was breathing the atmos- 
phere of genius created by an age which com- 
pares well with those of Pericles and Augustus 
and the Medici, and nourished at the same time 
by the exhalations from a new crop of vices 
growing out of the decaying remains of those 
left by the old court. 


SUCH was the preparation for a supreme 

crisis in the life of the Kingdom. 

The enormous debt left by the last reign 
taxed the ingenuity of the regent to its utmost. 
Then it was that John Law, the Scotchman, 
presented his great financial scheme of making 
unlimited wealth out of paper, which was just 
what the regent needed. The collapse came 
quickly, in 1720, bringing ruin to thousands, 
and leaving the country in more desperate need 
than before. 

When declared of age, in 1723, a marriage 
was arranged for Louis with Marie Leczinska, 
daughter of the exiled Polish King Stanislas. 
Europe at this time was agitated over the suc- 
cession to the throne of Austria, as the empire 
was now called. The Salic Law excluded 
female heirs, and the emperor, Charles VI., 
had died in 1718, leaving only a daughter, 
Maria Theresa, one year old. But a prag- 



matic sanction, once more invoked, seems to 
have covered the necessities of the situation by 
providing that the succession in the absence of 
a male heir might descend to a female, and so 
there was a young and beautiful empress on 
the throne at Vienna, who was going to make 
a great deal of history for Europe; and who 
would open her brilliant reign by a valiant fight 
for possession of Silesia, which the young king 
of Prussia intended to seize as an addition to 
his own new kingdom. This young King 
Frederick was also making history very fast, 
and after a stormy career was going to con- 
vert his Kingdom Into a Power, and to be the 
one sovereign of his age whom the world would 
call Great! But at this particular period of his 
youth, Frederick and his nobility, still blinded 
by the splendors of the reign of Louis XIV., 
were mere servile imitators of the court at Ver- 
sailles, and the culture and the civilization for 
which they hungered were French only 
French; and for Frederick, an intimate com- 
panionship with Voltaire was his supreme de- 
sire. But a closer view of the witty, cynical 
Frenchman wrought a wonderful change. 
The finely pointed shafts of ridicule when aimed 


at himself were not so entertaining. And his 
guest, no longer persona grata, w r as escorted 
over the frontier to France. 

A nearer view of Versailles at this time 
might also have disenchanted these worship- 
pers at the shrine of French civilization. A 
king absolutely indifferent to conditions in 
his kingdom, Immersed in debasing pleasures, 
while Madame de Pompadour actually ruled 
the state this Is not the worst they would 
have seen ! Destitute of shame, of pity, of 
patriotism, and of human affection, what did It 
mean to the king that his people \vere growing 
desperate under the enormous taxation made 
necessary by incessant wars and by the extrava- 
gant expenditures of the court ? Louis simply 
turned his back upon the whole problem of ad- 
ministration, and left his ministers, Fleury, and 
later de Choiseul, to deal with the misery and 
the discontent and to make their way through 
the financial morass as best they might. 

The power of Madame de Pompadour may 
be Imagined w T hen we learn that Maria Theresa, 
empress and proud daughter of the Caesars, 
when she needed the friendship of Louis XIV., 
In her struggle with Frederick of Prussia, in 


order to win him to her side, wrote a flatter- 
Ing letter to this woman. 

This friendship, so artfully sought by the 
empress, led to another very different and very 
momentous alliance. A marriage was ar- 
ranged between her little daughter, Marie 
Antoinette, and the boy Louis, who was to be 
the future king of France. The dauphin, the 
dauphiness, and their eldest child were all dead. 
So Louis, the second son of the dauphin, was 
the heir to his grandfather, Louis XV. 

How should the empress of Austria, born, 
nurtured, and fed in the very centre of despot- 
ism, utterly misunderstanding as she must the 
past, the present, and the future, how should 
she suspect that the throne of France would be 
a scaff old for her child ? Hapsburg and Bour- 
bon were to her realities as enduring as the 

In the meantime England and France had 
come into collision over their boundaries in 
America, and the war opened by Braddock and 
his young aide, Washington, had been a still 
further drain upon- impoverished France. 
With the loss of Montreal and Quebec, those 
two strongholds in the north, the French were 


virtually defeated. And when the end came, 
France had lost every inch of territory on the 
North American Continent, and had ceded her 
vast possessions, extending from Canada to 
the Gulf of Mexico, to England and Spain. 

So while England was steadily building up 
a world-empire, penetrated with the forces of 
a modern age, France, loaded with debt, was 
taxing a people crying for bread taxing a 
starving people for money to procure unimagi- 
nable luxuries and pleasures for Madame du 
Barry, who had succeeded to the place once 
held by Madame de Pompadour. Did she de- 
sire a snowstorm and a sleighride in midsum- 
mer, these must be created and made possible. 
And one may see to-day at Versailles the 
sleigh in which this mad caprice was realized. 

The various instructors of Louis XV. had 
not taught him amlhing about mind and soul 
processes. They were quite unaware that there 
had commenced a movement in the brain of 
France, which was going to liberate terrific 
forces forces which would sweep before them 
the work of the Richelieus and the Mazarins 
and the Colberts as if it were chaff. 

The human mind was probing, questioning. 


doubting, everything it had once believed. And 
as one after another cherished beliefs disap- 
peared, it grew still more daring. The whole 
religious, social, and political system was 
wrong. The only remedy was to overthrow 
it all, and crown reason as the sovereign of a 
new era. Such was the ferment at work be- 
neath the surface as Louis was devising incred- 
ible extravagances for du Barry. And there 
was rage in men's hearts as they wrote insult- 
Ing lines upon his equestrian statue in the Place 
Louis Quinze. 

The Place Louis Quinze was soon to be the 
Place de la Revolution. The bronze statue was 
to be melted Into bullets by a maddened popu- 
lace, and standing on that very spot was to 
be the guillotine which would destroy king, 
queen, the king's sister, and a great part of the 
nobility of France. 

It is said that the three great events of 
modern times are the Reformation, the Ameri- 
can War of Independence, and the French 
Revolution. Events such as these have a 
lurid background, a long vista of causes be- 
hind them! A French Revolution is not the 
work of a day, nor of a single man. There had 


been a steady movement toward this event for 
a thousand years in fact, ever since the dogma 
that labor is degrading was placed at the foun- 
dation of the social structure of France. 

The direct causes which were precipitating 
the crisis in the closing eighteenth century were 
financial and economic, while the contributing 
causes were a remarkable intellectual move- 
ment and the War of Independence in Amer- 
ica. It is possible that a king with a heart and 
a brain, and the moral sense which belongs to 
ordinary humanity, might have averted this 
tragic outburst, and at least have delayed the 
event by awakening hope. The Revolution 
was born of hopeless miser}'. With the reign 
of Louis XV. hope died, and his successor fell 
heir to the inevitable. 

A heartless sybarite, depraved in tastes, with- 
out sense of responsibility or comprehension of 
his times, a brutalized voluptuary governed by 
a succession of designing women, regardless of 
national poverty, indulging in wildest extrava- 
gance such was the man in whom was vested 
the authority rendered so absolute by Richelieu ; 
such the man who opened up a pathway for 
the storm. 


As for the nobility, their degradation may 
be imagined when it is said there was as bitter 
rivalry between titled and illustrious fathers to 
secure for their daughters the coveted position 
held by Madame de Pompadour, as for the 
highest offices of State. 

Could the upper ranks fall lower than this ? 
Had not the kingdom reached its lowest depths, 
where its foreign policy was determined by the 
amount of consideration shown to Madame de 
Pompadour? But this woman, whose friend- 
ship was artfully sought by the great Em- 
press Maria Theresa, was superseded, and the 
fresher charms of Madame du Barry enslaved 
the king. The deposed favorite could not sur- 
vive her fall, and died of a broken heart. It 
is said that as Louis, looking from an upper 
window of his palace, saw the coffin borne out 
in a drenching rain, he smiled, and said, ic Ah, 
the marquise has a bad day for her journey." 
It may be imagined that the man who could be 
so pitiless to the woman he had loved would 
feel little pity for the people whom he had not 
loved, but whom he knew only as a remote, 
obscure something, which held up the weight of 
his glory. 


But this " obscure something " was under- 
going strange transformation. The greater 
light at the surface had sent some glimmering 
rays down into the mass below, which began 
to awaken and to think. Misery, hopeless and 
abject, was changing into rage and thirst for 

A new class had come Into existence which 
was not noble, but with highly trained intelli- 
gence It looked with contempt and loathing 
upon the frivolous, half-educated nobles. 
Scorn was added to the ferment of human pas- 
sions beneath the surface, and when Voltaire 
had spoken, and the restraints of religion were 
loosened, no living hand, not that of a Riche- 
lieu nor a Louis XIV., could have averted the 
coming doom. But no one seems to have sus- 
pected w j hat was approaching. 

A -wonderful literature had come into ex- 
istence, not stately and classic as In the age pre- 
ceding, but instinct with a new sort of life, 
The profoundest themes which can occupy the 
mind of man were handled with marvellous 
lightness of touch and clothed with prismatic 
brilliancy of speech; but all was negation. 
None tried to build; all to demolish. The 


black-winged angel of Destruction was hover- 
ing over the land. 

Then Rousseau tossed his dreamy abstrac- 
tions into the quivering air, and the formula, 
" Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity," was 
caught up by the titled aristocracy as a charm- 
ing idyllic toy, while princes, dukes, and mar- 
quises amused themselves with a dream of 
Arcadian simplicity, to be attained in some 
indefinite way, in some remote and equally in- 
definite future. It was all a masquerade. No 
reality, no sincerity, no convictions, good or 
evil. The only thing that was real was that an 
over-taxed, impoverished people was exasper- 
ated and hungry. 

Did the king need new supplies for his un- 
imaginable luxuries, they were taxed. Was 
it necessary to have new accessions to French 
"glory," in order to allay popular clamor or 
discontent, they must supply the men to fight 
the glorious battles, and the means with which 
to pay them. Every burden fell at last upon 
this lowest stratum of the State; the nobility 
and clergy, while owning two-thirds of the 
land, being nearly exempt from taxation. 

And yet the king and nobility of France, in 


love with Rousseau's theories, were airily dis- 
cussing the " rights of man " wolves and 
foxes coming together to talk over the sacred- 
ness of the rights of property, or the occupants 
of murderers 1 row growing eloquent over the 
sanctity of human life! How incomprehen- 
sible that among those quick-witted French- 
men there seems not one to have realized that 
the logical sequence of the formula, " Liberty, 
Equality, and Fraternity/ 7 must be, " Down 
with the Aristocrats ! )} 

And so the surface which Richelieu had con- 
verted into adamant grew thinner and thinner 
each day, until king and court danced upon a 
mere gilded crust, unconscious of the abysmal 
fires beneath. Some of those powdered heads 
fell into the executioner's basket twenty-five 
years later. Did they recall this time? Did 
Madame du Barn 7 think of it ? Did she exult 
at her triumph over de Pompadour, when she 
was dragged shrieking and struggling to the 

Five years before the close of this miserable 
reign an event occurred seemingly of small im- 
portance to Europe. A child was born in an 


obscure Italian household. His name was Na- 
poleon Bonaparte. His birthplace, the island 
of Corsica, had only two months before been 
incorporated with France. The fates even 
then were watching over this child of destiny, 
who might, by a slight turn of events then im- 
minent, have been born a subject of Spain, or 
Germany, or of George III. of England. 

The impoverished Republic of Genoa was in 
desperate need of money. The island could be 
had by the highest bidder, and in 1 768 it was 
purchased by France, just in time to make the 
great Corsican a French citizen. 

Indeed, all the performers in the approaching 
drama were assembled. Three young princes, 
grandsons of Louis XV., who were to be suc- 
cessively upon the throne of France, were at 
Versailles: Louis the Dauphin, now twenty, 
and his Austrian bride, Marie Antoinette, and 
his two brothers, afterward successively Louis 
XVIII. and Charles X. Still another prince- 
ling, Louis Philippe, was at the Palais Royal, 
son of the Duke of Orleans, late regent, also 
destined to wear the French crown ; and last of 
all that infant at Ajaccio, in whom the play was 
to reach its splendid climax. 


In 1744 Louis XV. was stricken with small- 
pox, and exchanged the brilliant scenes at Ver- 
sailles for the royal vault in the Church of 
St. Denis, where he took his place among his 


Louis XV. was dead, and two children, with 
the light-heartedness of youth and inexperi- 
ence, stepped upon the throne which was to be 
a scaffold Louis XVI., only twenty, and 
Marie Antoinette, his wife, nineteen. He, 
amiable, kind, full of generous intentions ; she, 
beautiful, simple, child-like, and lovely. In- 
stead of a debauched old king with depraved 
surroundings, here were a prince and princess 
out of a fairy tale. The air was filled with 
Indefinite promise of a new era for mankind to 
be inaugurated by this amiable young king, 
whose kindness of heart shone forth in his first 
speech, " We will have no more loans, no credit, 
no fresh burdens on the people ; " then, leaving 
his ministers to devise ways of paying the enor- 
mous salaries of officials out of an empty treas- 
ury, and to arrange the financial details of his 
benevolent scheme of government, he proceeded 
with his gay and brilliant young wife to 


Rheims, there to be crowned with a magnifi- 
cence undreamed of by Louis XIV. 

In the midst of these rejoicings over the new 
reign, and of speculative dreams of universal 

freedom, there was wafted across the Atlantic 
news of a handful of patriots arrayed against 

the tyranny of the British Crown. Here were 
the theories of the new philosophy translated 

into the reality of actual experience. " No 
taxation without representation/' " No privi- 
leged class/ 7 " No government without the con- 
sent of the governed." Vv'as this not an em- 
bodiment of their dreams ? Nor did it detract 
from the interest in the conflict that England 
England, the hated rival of France was defied 
by an indignant people of her own race. There 
was not a young noble in the land who would 
not have rushed, if he could, to the defence of 
the outraged colonies. 

The king, half doubting, and vaguely fear- 
ing, was swept into the current, and the ar- 
mies and the courage of the Americans were 
splendidly reinforced by generous, enthusiastic 

Why should the simple-hearted Louis see 
what no one else seemed to see: that victory 


or failure was alike full of peril for France? 
If the colonies were conquered, France would 
feel the hostility of England; if they were 
freed and self-governing, the principle of mon- 
archy had a staggering blow. 

In the mean time, as the American Revolu- 
tion moved, on toward success, there was talk 
in the cabin as well as the chateau of the 
" rights of man." In shops and barns, as well 
as in clubs and drawling-rooms, there was a 
glimmering of the coming day. 

" What is true upon one continent is true 
upon another," say they. " If it is cowardly 
to submit to tyranny in America, what is it in 
France ? " " If Englishmen may revolt against 
oppression, why may not Frenchmen ? " " No 
government without the consent of the gov- 
erned ? When has our consent been asked, the 
consent of twenty-five million people ? Are we 
sheep, that we have let a few thousands gov- 
ern us for a thousand years, without our con- 

Poverty and hunger gave force and urgency 
to these questions. The people began to clamor 
more boldly for the good time which had been 
promised by the kind-hearted king. The mur- 


rnur swelled to an ominous roan Thousands 
were at his very palace gates, telling him In no 
unmistakable terms that they were tired of 
smooth words and fair promises. What they 

wanted was a new constitution and bread. 
Poor Louis ! the one could be made with pen 

and paper; but by what miracle could he pro- 
duce the other? How gladly would he have 
given them anything. But what could he do? 
There was not enough money to pay the sal- 
aries of his officials, nor for his gay young 
queen's fetes and balls! The old way would 
have been to Impose new taxes. But how 
could he tax a people crying at his gates for 
bread? He made more promises which he 
could not keep ; yielded, one after another, con- 
cessions of authority and dignity; then vacil- 
lated, and tried to return over the slippery path, 
only to be dragged on again by an Irresistible 

Louis' Minister of Finance, Turgot, was a 
trained economist and a man of very great 
ability. When Louis assured the people, In the 
speech after his coronation, that there were to 
be " no more loans, no fresh burdens on the 
people/' he did not know how Turgot was 


going to accomplish this miracle. He was un- 
aware that it was to be done by cutting off the 
cherished privileges of the nobility, and that 
the proposed reforms were all aimed at the 
privileged classes. When this became appar- 
ent, indignation was great at Versailles. The 
court would not hear of economy. Turgot was 
dismissed, and Necker, a Swiss banker (father 
of Madame de Stael), called to fill his place. 

Necker made another mistake. He took the 
people into his confidence, let them know the 
sources of revenue, the nature of expenditures, 
and measures of relief. This was very quiet- 
ing to the public, but exasperating to the privi- 
leged classes, who had never taken the people 
into their confidence, and considered it an im- 
pertinence for them to inquire how the moneys 
were spent And so Louis, again yielding to 
the pressure at Versailles, dismissed Necker; 
then, in the outburst of rage which followed, 
tried to retrace his steps and recall him. 

But events were moving too swiftly for that 
now. In the existing temper of the people, 
small reforms and concessions were unavailing. 
They were demanding that the States General 
be called. 


The critical moment had come. If Louis of 
his own initiative had summoned that body to 
confer over the situation, it would have been 
a very different thing; but a call of the States- 
General at the demand of the people was a vir- 
tual surrender of the very principle of absolu- 
tism. The work of Richelieu, Mazarin, and 
Louis XIV. would be undone ; for it would in- 
volve an acknowledgment of the right of the 
people to dictate to the king, and to participate 
in the government of the nation. The whole 
revolutionary contention was vindicated in this 

The call was issued; and when Louis, in 
1789. convoked the States General, he made 
his last concession to the demands of his sub- 

That almost-forgotten body had not been 
seen since Richelieu effaced all the auxiliary 
functions of government. Nobles, ecclesiastics, 
and Tiers Etat (or commons) found them- 
selves face to face once more. The courtly 
contemptuous nobles, the princely ecclesiastics 
were unchanged, but there was a new expres- 
sion In the pale faces of the commons. There 
was a look of calm defiance as they met the dis- 


dainful gaze of the aristocrats across the gulf 
of two centuries. 

The two superior bodies absolutely refused 
to sit in the same room with the commons. 
They might under the same roof, but in the 
same room never. 

There was an historic precedent for this re- 
fusal. The three estates had always acted as 
three separate bodies. So the demand in itself 
was an encroachment upon the ancient dignity 
of the two superior bodies, which they resented. 
But they might better have yielded. The Tiers 
Etat with dignity and firmness insisted that 
they should meet and vote together as one body, 
or they would constitute themselves a separate 
body, and act independently of the other two. 
This was the Rubicon. On one side compro- 
mise, and possible co-operation of the three leg- 
islative bodies; on the other, revolution, in 
charge of the people. 

Aristocratic France was offered its last 
chance, and committed its last act of arrogance 
and folly. The ultimatum was refused by the 
nobles and clergy. And the Tiers Etat de- 
clared itself the National Assembly, in which 
was vested all the legislative authority of the 


kingdom. The people had taken possession of 
the Government of France ! 

The predetermined destruction of the mon- 
archy seems evident, when at the most critical 
point, and at the moment calling for the most 
careful retrenchment and reform, fate had 
placed Louis XV., acting like a madman in the 
excesses of his profligacy; and, at the next 
stage, while the last opportunity still existed by 
main force to drag the nation back, and hold it 
from going over the brink, there stood the most 
excellent, the kindest-hearted but weakest gen- 
tleman who ever wore the name of king ! When 
the distracted Louis gave the impotent order 
for the National Assembly to disperse, and for 
the three bodies to assemble and vote separately, 
according to ancient custom; and then when 
he gave still further proof of childish incom- 
petency by telling the Tiers Etat they were 
" not to meddle with the privileges of the higher 
orders/' kingship had become a mocker}". It 
was a child telling the tornado not to come in 
that direction. 

When the king's herald read to the National 
Assembly this foolish message, ending with the 
formula, " You hear, gentlemen^ the orders of 


the king/' Mirabeau sprang to his feet, saying, 
" Go, tell your master we are here by the will 
of the people, and will be only removed at the 
point of the bayonet," the pitiful king then 
yielding to this defiance, even begging the no- 
bles and deputies of the clergy to join the 
National Assembly a revolutionary assembly, 
which was holding its meetings in his own Pal- 
ace of Versailles, and which was every day 
gravitating from its original lofty purpose ; its 
rallying cry for justice and reform of abuses 
changing to " Down with the Aristocrats ! " 
It was becoming alarming, so Louis ordered 
the body to disperse ; and when soldiers stood 
at the door to prevent its assembling, it took 
possession of the queen's tennis court, and there 
each member took a solemn oath not to dissolve 
until the object they sought had been secured. 
There were some among the clergy and the 
nobles who realized the necessity for reforms, 
and who would gladly have joined a movement 
inaugurated in a different spirit. Hence, partly 
from alarm, and partly impelled by other rea- 
sons and purposes, more or less pure, there was 
finally a secession from the two aristocratic 
bodies ; the Duke of Orleans, cousin of the king, 


leading the movement in one, and three arch- 
bishops in the other. These, with their follow- 
ers, appeared among the Tiers Etat as converts 
to the popular cause, the Marquis de Lafayette, 
hero of the late American War, sitting next to 
Mirabeau, the powerful and eloquent leader of 
the whole movement in its first days. 

Concerning the genius of Mirabeau there is 
no difference of opinion. AH are agreed that 
intellectually he towered far above every* one 
about him. But whether he was the incarna- 
tion of good or of evil, the world is still in 
doubt ; and also whether he could have guided 
the forces he had invoked, if a premature death 
had not swept him off from the scene, leaving 
Robespierre, a man concerning whom there is 
no disagreement of opinion, to guide the storm. 

Paris was becoming wild with excitement. 
Clubs and associations were in every quarter, 
and detachments of a Parisian mob marched 
and sang at night, firing the hearts of the rab- 
ble. But it was the Palais Royal, the home of 
the Duke of Orleans, that friend of the people, 
which was the heart of the whole movement. 
There, patriots and lovers of France, their 
hearts aflame with noble aspiration for their 


country, met with schemers without heart, 
more or less wicked, the Camille Desmoulins 
and the Marats all fused into one body under 
the leadership of the Duke of Orleans, cousin 

of the king, who, rising superior to aristocratic 
traditions, believed in Equality, and was the 
man of the people Philippe Egalite! His 
young son Louis Philippe perhaps listened with 
wonder to the sounds of strange revelry and 
the wild shouts which greeted the eloquence of 
Camille Desmoulins and of Marat. 

At last a rumor reached the Palais Royal, 
and from there ran through the streets like an 
electric current, that the king's soldiers were 
marching upon the Assembly to disperse it. 
Mad with wine and excitement, a common im- 
pulse seized the entire populace, to destroy the 
Bastille, that old stronghold of despotism, that 
symbol of royal tyranny. This prison- fortress, 
with its eight great round towers, and moat 
eighty-three feet wide, had stood since 1371, 
and represented more tragic human experi- 
ences than any structure in France. In an 
hour the doors were burst open, and before the 
sun went down the heads of the governor and 
his officials were being carried on pikes through 


the streets of Paris. The horrible drama had 
opened. The tiger in the slums had tasted 
blood, and would want it again. 

Thus far it was only an insurgent mob, com- 
mitting violence, and the National Assembly at 
once created a body of militia, under the direc- 
tion of Lafayette, for the protection of Paris. 

When the news of the fall of the Bastille 
reached Versailles, the king, still failing to real- 
ize the gravity of the situation, exclaimed, 
" Then it is a revolt ! " " Sire," said the Duke 
de Liancourt, " it is a Revolution ! " 

The king found himself deserted. His ter- 
rified nobles almost in a body were fleeing from 
the kingdom. Bewildered, not knowing what 
to do, or what not to do, and desiring to assure 
the people that he was their friend, he appeared 
before the National Assembly and made the last 
sacrifice accepted the Tricolor; adopted the 
livery of the revolutionary party ! The act was 
received with immense enthusiasm, and the out- 
look became more reassuring. 

Then the garrison at the palace was re- 
enforced by a regiment from the country, and 
a dinner was given to welcome the new officers. 
The king and queen were urged to enter the 


room for a few moments, simply as an act of 
courtesy. Marie Antoinette most reluctantly 
consented to pass through the banqueting-hall. 
The officers, when they saw the beautiful 
daughter of Maria Theresa, sprang to their 
feet, and, flushed with wine, and in a transport 
of enthusiasm, committed a fatal act. Throw- 
ing their tricolors under the table, they drank 
to the toast, " The king forever! " 

When this was reported In Paris the storm 
burst anew. A thousand terrible women, led 
by one still more terrible than the rest, started 
for Versailles. This crowd of base and de- 
graded beings, re-enforced on the way by all 
that is worst, arrived at the palace, and the 
howling mob encamped ontslde in the rain all 
night. Entrance at last was found by someone^ 
and they were Inside and at the queen's door; 
she barely escaping by a hidden passageway 
leading to the king's room. 

" The king to Paris! " was the cry; and in 
the morning the wretched Louis appeared upon 
the balcony and Indicated his willingness to go 
to Paris as they desired. And then the queen, 
hoping to touch their hearts, also appeared 
upon the balcony, holding in her arms the 


dauphin, with the tricolor on his breast. And 
with this horrible escort they did go back to 
Paris, leaving Versailles forever, and were vir- 
tually prisoners at the Tuileries. 

The position of Lafayette at this time is a 
singular one: an agent of the National As- 
sembly, protecting the king from the Jacobins, 
and saying to Robespierre and Marat, " If you 
kill the king to-day, I will place the dauphin 
on the throne to-morrow. 37 

But the currents of a cataract nearing the 
fall are difficult to guide. Three parties were 
forming in the Xational Assembly : the Giron- 
dists, the part}' of genius and eloquence and of 
moderation; the Jacobins, the party of the ex- 
tremists and radicals : and a third party, unde- 
cided, waiting to see what was safest and 

All that was noble and true and fine in the 
French Revolution was in the party oi the 
Girondists. Dreamers, idealists, their dream 
was of a republic like the one in America, and 
their ideal an impossible perfection of condi- 
tion in which human reason was supreme. 
The excesses of the Revolution they did not ap- 
prove, but were willing to sacrifice the king 


and even the royal family, if necessary. They 
did not realize the forces with which they were 
airily playing, nor that the time was at hand 
w T hen the Girondists would vainly strive to re- 
strain the horrible excesses ; that, after they had 
sacrificed the royal family, the Jacobins would 
sacrifice them; the slayers would be slain! 

Lafayette, neither a Girondist nor a Jacobin, 
was a loyal Frenchman and patriot, with the 
American ideal in his heart, vainly trying to 
mediate between a feeble king and a people 
who had lost their reason. The time was near 
when he would give up the hopeless task and 
flee to escape being himself engulfed. 

A wretchedly planned attempt at the escape 
of the royal family aggravated the situation. 
They were recognized at Varennes, brought 
back with great indignity, and placed under 
closer surveillance than before. On the loth 
of August, 1792, the mob attacked the Tuile- 
ries. The royal family fled to the National 
Assembly for protection, while their Swiss 
guards vainly defended the palace with their 

This was the end of the monarchy. Louis, 
the brave queen and her children, and Princess 


Elizabeth, sister of the king, were removed 
from the Assembly to the prison in " The 
Temple/' and the National Convention for- 
mally declared France a republic. 

The grim prison to which they were taken, 
with its central square tower flanked by four 
round towers, had stood since the time of 
Philip Augustus. It was built for the Knights 
Templar, and was chateau, fortress, prison, all 
In one, and was the home of the grand master 
and those others who were burned when Philip 
IV. ruthlessly destroyed the order. The cen- 
tral tower, one hundred and fifty feet high, had 
four stories. The king and the dauphin were 
Imprisoned In the second story, and the queen, 
her young daughter, and the Princess Elizabeth 
in the story above. 

The power swiftly passed from Girondists to 
Jacobins, and a Revolutionary Tribunal was 
created in charge of the terrible triumvirate 
Robespierre, Marat, and Danton. 

An awful travesty upon a court of justice 
was established In that historic hall In the 
Palais de Justice. Its walls, which had looked 
down upon generations of Merovingian, Carlo- 
vingian, and Capetian. kings, now beheld the 


condemnation of the most innocent and well- 
intentioned of all the kings of France. 

The king was arraigned at this court upon 
the charge of treason, convicted, and con- 
demned to die on the 2ist of January, 1793. He 
was allowed to embrace for the last time his 
adored wife and children. At the scaffold he 
tried to speak a last word to his people. The 
drums were ordered to drown his voice, and 
an attendant priest uttered the words, " Fils 
de Saint Louis, monies au del! " Son of 
Saint Louis, ascend to heaven! and all was 
over. The kindest-hearted, most inoffensive 
gentleman in Europe had expiated the crimes 
of his ancestors. 

More and more furious swept the torrent, 
gathering to itself all that was vile and outcast. 
Where were the pale-faced, determined patriots 
who sat in the National Assembly ? Some of 
them riding with dukes and marquises to the 
guillotine. Was this the equality they ex- 
pected when they cried, "Down with the 
Aristocrats " ? 

Did they think they could guide the whirl- 
wind after raising it ? As well whisper to the 
cyclone to level only the tall trees, or to the 


conflagration to burn only the temples and 

With restraining agencies removed, religion, 
government, king, all swept away, that hideous 
brood bom of vice, poverty, hatred, and despair 
came out from dark hiding-places; and what 
had commenced as a patriotic revolt had become 
a wild orgy of bloodthirsty demons, led by 
three master-demons, Robespierre, Marat, and 
Danton, vying with each other in ferocity. 

Then we see that simple girl thinking by one 
supreme act of heroism and sacrifice, like Joan 
of Arc, to save her country. Foolish child! 
Did she think to slay the monster devouring 
Paris by cutting off one of his heads? The 
death of Marat only added to the fury of the 
tempest; and the falling of Charlotte Corday's 
head was not more noticed than the falling of 
a leaf in the forest. 

The slaughter of the people had been reduced 
to an admirable system. The public prosecu- 
tor, Fouquier-Tinville, went every day to the 
" Committee of Public Safety JJ to procure the 
list of the proscribed, who were immediately 
placed in the Conciergerie to await trial. This 
list was then submitted to Robespierre, who 


with his pencil marked the names of those who 
would be executed on the morrow. 

The mockery of the trial of Charlotte Cor- 
day was not delayed. This girl belonged to a 
family of the smaller nobility. In her secluded 
life in the country, a mind of superior quality 
had fed upon the new philosophy of the period. 
An enthusiasm for liberty, and a horror of 
tyranny, had taken possession of her. In pas- 
sionate sympathy with the early purposes of the 
Revolution, Marat seemed to her a monster, the 
incarnation of the spirit which would defeat 
the cause of Liberty. It was believed that his 
list of the proscribed was not confined to Paris, 
but that the names of thousands of victims all 
over France were already designated. In that 
extraor dinary scene at her trial, when ques- 
tioned, she impatiently said, " Yes, yes, I killed 
him. I killed one man to save a hundred 
thousand ! " 

Nothing w r as lacking to make this, with one 
exception, the most dramatic incident of the 
Revolution. Her eloquent address to the 
French people, found pinned to the waist of 
her dress after her execution, and her splendid 
courage to the end, rounds out the picturesque 


story of her useless martyrdom. A Girondist 

waiting- in the Conciergerie, when he heard of 

her crime and end, exclaimed : " It will kill us ! 
But she has taught us how to die! " 

The end did not come so swiftly for the 
queen, who., after being removed from the 
Temple, spent seventy-two days and nights in 
the dark cell in that abode of horrors, the Con- 
ciergerie. Then came the trial, the inquisitorial 
trial, lasting all through the night in the gloom 
of that dimly lighted hall. And at half-past 
four in the morning she heard without a tremor 
the terrible words, " Marie Antoinette, widow 
of Louis Capet, the Tribunal condemns yon to 
die/' Not for a moment did this intrepid 
woman quail ; and a small detail brings before 
us vividly her wonderful calmness. As she 
reached the stairs in her pitiful return to her 
cell, she said simply to the lieutenant of the 
gendarmes, who was at her side, " Monsieur, I 
can scarcely see (Je z'ois a peine) ; will you lead 

In another half hour the drums were beating 
in every quarter in preparation for the event; 
and at ten o'clock she started upon her last ride. 
And how bravely she met her awful fate ! We 


forget her follies, her reckless extravagances, 
in admiration for her courage as she rides to 
her death, with hands tied behind her, sitting 
in that hideous tumbril, head erect, pale, proud, 
defiant, as if upon a throne (October 16, 1793). 

The search-light of scrutiny has been turned 
upon this unfortunate woman for more than a 
century, and all that has been discovered is that 
she was pleasure-loving, indiscreet, and abso- 
lutely ignorant of the gravity of her responsi- 
bility in the position she occupied. 

In the days of her power and splendor she 
lived as the average woman of her period would 
have done under the same circumstances not 
better, and not worse. But when the time 
came to try her soul and test her mettle, she 
evinced a strength and dignity and composure 
surpassing belief. 

If there had been any evidence of the truth 
of the story of the diamond necklace a story 
which no doubt hastened the revolutionary 
crisis it would certainly have been used at her 
trial; but it was not. It wall be remembered 
that this necklace was one of the fatal legacies 
from the reign of Louis XV., who had ordered 
for du Barry this gift which was to cost a sum 


krge enough for a king's ransom. The king 
died before it was completed, and the story 

became current that Marie Antoinette, the 
hated Austrian woman who was ruining France 
by her extravagance, was negotiating for the 
purchase of this necklace while the people were 
starving ! 

A network of villainy is woven about the 
whole incident in which the names of a car- 
dinal and ladies high in rank are involved. 
The mystery may never be uncovered, but every 
effort to connect the queen's name with this 
historic scandal has failed. 

Probably of all the cruelties inlicted upon 
this unhappy woman, none caused her such 
anguish as the testimony of her son before the 
Revolutionary Tribunal, that he had heard his 
mother say she " hated the French people." 
Placed under the care of the brutal Simon after 
his father's removal from the Temple, the child 
had become a physical and mental wreck. The 
queen, in her last letter to her sister the Prin- 
cess Elizabeth, makes pitiful allusion to the in- 
cident, begging her to remember what lie must 
have suffered before he said this ; also remind- 
ing her how children may be taught to utter 


words they do not comprehend. His lesson, 
no doubt, had been learned by cruel tortures; 
and, rendered half imbecile, it was recited when 
the time came. None but his keeper was ever 
permitted to see the boy. His condition, final 
illness, and death are shrouded in mystery. 
In June, 1794, eight months after his mother's 
execution, it was announced that he was dead. 
It would be difficult to prove this event before 
a court of justice. There were no witnesses 
whose testimony would have any weight. No 
one was permitted to see the child who was put 
into that obscure grave; and many circum- 
stances give rise to a suspicion that the boy, 
who might have been a source of political em- 
barrassment in the rehabilitation of France, was 
disposed of in another way dropped into an 
obscurity which would serve as well as death. 

There was a surfeit of killing, and a waning 
Revolution. We are far from saying that such 
a thing happened. But ambitious royalists 
might have thought their money well expended 
in removing the son of the murdered king from 
the scene. The claim of the American dau- 
phin, Eleazer Williams, may have been fanciful, 
or even false; but what safer and more effect- 


tial plan could be devised than to drop the half- 
Imbecile heir to a throne Into the heart of a 
tribe of Indians In an American wilderness ? 

When Louis XVIII. occupied his brother's 
throne, in 1814, and erected over the dishon- 
ored graves of his family that beautiful Cha- 
pelle Expiatoire, he also gave orders for masses 
to be said for the repose of the souls of his mur- 
dered kindred, whom he designated by name: 
Louis XVI., king; Marie Antoinette, queen, 
and the Princess Elizabeth, his sister. If It Is 
true, as has been said, that the name of the dau- 
phin was not Included In this list, It Is a most 
suggestive omission. Technically, this boy 
was king from the moment of his father's 
death until his own, and on the lists of sov- 
ereigns is called Louis XVII. Then why was 
there no mention of him as one of that mar- 
tyred group? 

Twenty-two of the Girondists who had 
helped to dethrone the king on that loth of 
August, and later consented to his death, were 
now facing the same doom to which they had 
sent him only six months before, and by a 
strange fatality were under the same roof with 
the queen. Only a few feet, and two thin par- 


titions, separated them ; and in her cell she must 
have heard their impassioned voices during 
that dramatic banquet, the last night of their 
lives. And the next day this group of extraor- 
dinary men men singularly gifted and fas- 
cinating were all lying in one tomb, at the 
side of Louis XVI. 

Philip Egalite, the Duke of Orleans, was to 
meet his Nemesis also. Brought a prisoner to 
that grim resting-place, he occupied the adjoin- 
ing cell to that which had been the qtieen's, and, 
it is said, had assigned to him the wretched cot 
she no longer needed. His desperate game had 
failed. No elevation would come to him out 
of the chaos of crime, and the reward for 
scheming and voting for the death of his cousin, 
the king, would be a scaffold, not a throne. 
His name had been upon the list of the pro- 
scribed for some time ; but the end was precipi- 
tated by an act of his young son, Louis Philippe, 
then Duke de Chartres, and aide-de-camp to 
Dumouriez, who was defending the frontier 
from an invasion of Austrian troops. After 
the execution of the queen, Dumouriez refused 
longer to defend France from an invasion the 
purpose of which was to make such horrors im- 


possible. He laid down his command, and, 
with his aide, Louis Philippe, joined the colony 
of exiles in Belgium, while the Austrian troops 
were in full march upon Paris from Verdun. 

This was treason whether justifiable or not 
this is not the place to discuss. 

Philip Egalite knew that he no longer had the 
confidence of the leaders, and that they also 
knew r that he was an aristocrat in disguise. 
So when this defection of Dumouriez came, 
and was shared by his own son, he tried to get 
out of the country. He was arrested at Mar- 
seilles, brought to the Conciergerie, that half- 
way house to the scaffold, and was soon follow- 
ing in the footsteps of his king and queen, 
through the Rue St. Honore, passing his own 
Palais Royal on his way to the Place de la 

The Revolution, beginning with a patriotic 
assembly, in a measure sane, had made a rapid 
descent, first falling apart into Girondist and 
Jacobin, moderate and extremist, the Giron- 
dist with a shudder consenting to the execution 
of the king. Then, the power passing to a so- 
called " Committee of Public Safety " and a 
Triumvirate, in order to sweep away the ob- 


structive Girondist ; and then an untrammelled 1 
Terror, in the hands of three, and, finally, one. 
Such had been its mad course. But with the 
death of the king and queen the madness had 
reached its height, and a revulsion of feeling 
set in. There was a surfeit of blood, and an 
awakening sense of horror, which turned upon 
the instigators. Danton fell, and finally, when 
amid cries of " Death to the tyrant! " Robes- 
pierre was dragged wounded and shivering to 
the fate he had brought upon so many thou- 
sands, the drama which had opened at the 
Bastille was fittingly closed. 

The great battle for human liberty had been 
fought and w r on. Religious freedom and po- 
litical freedom were identical in principle. The 
right of the human conscience, proclaimed by 
Luther in 1517, had in 1793 only expanded 
into the large conception of all the inherent 
rights of the individual. 

It had taken centuries for English persist- 
ence to accomplish what France, with such ap- 
palling violence, had done in as many years. 
It had been a furious outburst of pent-up force ; 
but the work had been thorough. Not a germ 
of tyranny remained. The incrustations of a 


thousand years were not alone broken, but pul- 
verized ; the privileged classes were swept away, 
and their vast estates, two-thirds of the terri- 
tory of France, ready to be distributed among 
the rightful owners of the soil, those who by 
toil and industry could win them. France was 
as new as if she had no history 7 . There was 
ample opportunity for her people now. What 
would they do with It ? 

What would they build upon the ruins of 
their ancient despotism? What would be the 
starting-point for such a task every connect- 
ing link with an historic past broken, and the 
armies of an indignant Europe pressing in upon 
every side ? Could they ever wipe out the stain 
which had made them odious in the sight of 
Christendom? Would they ever be forgiven 
for disgracing the name of Liberty? 

It was the power and genius of a single man 
which was going to make the world forget her 
disgrace, and cover France with a mantle more 
glorious than she had ever worn. 


The Revolution over, France, sitting among 
the wreckage of the past, found herself dis- 
graced, discredited, and at war with all of 
Europe. Austria, naturally the leader in an 
effort to stop the atrocities which threatened a 
daughter of her own royal house, had been 
joined finally by England, Holland, Spain, and 
even Portugal and Tuscany, these all being im- 
pelled, not by the personal feeling which actu- 
ated Austria, but by alarm for their own safety. 
This revolutionary movement was a moral and 
political plague spot which must be stamped 
out, or there would be anarchy in every king- 
dom in Europe. 

It was the difficulty in recruiting troops to 
fight this coalition which had embarrassed and 
finally broken the power of the revolutionary 
government. If the states of Europe had 
really acted in concert, the life of the new re- 
public would have been brief. But Austria 


was jealous of Prussia, and Prussia afraid o 
the friendship which was forming between 
Austria and England, and Catharine, the em- 
press of Russia, keeping all uncertain about her 
designs upon Poland with the result that the 
war upon France \vas conducted in a desultory 
and ineffectual manner. 

In the organization of the new French repub- 
lic, the executive power was vested in a Direc- 
tory, composed of five members, chosen by two 
houses of legislature. 

A disagreement over some details of the new 
constitution led to a heated quarrel, and this 
to an insurrection in Paris, October 5, 1795, 
which Napoleon Bonaparte, a young officer 
who had acquired distinction at Toulon, was 
summoned to quell. The vigor and the success 
with w r hich the young leader used his cannon 
in the streets of Paris struck precisely the right 
note at the right moment. Law and order w r ere 
established. A delighted Directory yielded at 
once to the suggestion of a campaign against 
Austria which should be conducted in Italy, In 
combination with an advance upon Vienna 
from the Rhine. 

With the instinct of genius, Napoleon Bona- 


parte saw the path to power. The air was 
vibrating with the word Liberty. If he would 
capture France which w r as what he intended 
to do he must move along the line of political 
freedom. The note to be struck was the lib- 
eration of the oppressed. Where would he 
find chains more galling, more unnatural, than 
in Italy, held by the iron hand of Austria? 
And was not Austria the leader of the coalition 
against France? 

Without money or supplies, and with an un- 
clothed army, he obeyed the inspiration, auda- 
ciously planning to make the invaded country 
pay the expenses of the war waged against it. 
Pointing to the Italian cities, he said to his 
soldiers : " There is your reward. It is rich 
and ample, but you must conquer it ! " Like 
Caesar, he knew how, in words brief and con- 
cise, to address his followers, and to inspire en- 
thusiasm as few have ever done before or since. 
He also knew how to confound the enemy with 
new and unexpected methods which made un- 
availing all which military science and experi- 
ence had taught them. 

With the suddenness of a tornado he swept 
down upon the plains of Lombardy. The bat- 


ties of Lodi, Arcola, Rivoli, were won, and in 
ten months Napoleon was master of Italy. By 
the treaty of Campo Foraiio, October 17, 1797, 
northern Italy was divided into four republics, 
with their capitals respectively at Milan, Genoa, 
Bologna, and Rome. And in return for her 
acquiescence in this redistribution of her Ital- 
ian territory, Austria received Venice. After 
fourteen centuries of independence, Venetia, the 
queen of the Adriatic, was in chains ! 

Not satisfied with this, Napoleon intended 
that Paris should wear the jewels which had 
adorned the fair Italian cities. The people 
whose chains he had come to break were at 
once required to surrender money, jewels, plate, 
horses, equipments, besides their choicest art 
collections and rarest manuscripts. In a pri- 
vate letter to a member of the Directory he 
wrote : " I shall send } T OU twenty pictures by 
some of the first masters, including Correggio 
and Michael Angelo." A later letter said: 
" Join all these to what will be sent from Rome, 
and we shall have all that is beautiful in Italy, 
except a small number of objects in Turin and 
Naples." Pius VI. , without a protest, surren- 
dered his millions of francs, and ancient 


bronzes, costly pictures, and priceless manu- 

Austria had lost fourteen battles, and all her 
Italian possessions were grouped together into 
a Cisalpine republic ! Another Helvetic repub- 
lic was set up in Switzerland, and still another 
republic created in Holland under a French 

In other words, this man had accomplished 
in Italy precisely what he was going to accom- 
plish later in Germany. He had broken down 
the lingering traces of medisevalism, and pre- 
pared the soil for a new order of things. 

The peace of Campo Formio was the most 
glorious ever made for France. The river 
Rhine was at last recognized as her frontier, 
thus placing Belgium within the lines of the 
republic. Napoleon had captured not alone 
Italy, but France herself? What might she 
not accomplish with such a leader? The 
delighted Directory discussed the invasion of 
England. Napoleon, knowing this would be 
premature, dramatically conceived the idea of 
crippling England by threatening her Asiatic 
possessions, and led an army into Egypt 
(1798). Although Nelson destroyed his fleet, 


he still maintained the arrogance of a con- 

No king, no military leader, had brought as 
much glory to France. Du Guesclin, Turenne, 
Conde, all were eclipsed. And so were Marl- 
borough and Prince Eugene. What would not 
France do at the bidding of this magician, \vho 
by a single sweep of his w r and had raised her 
from the dust of humiliation and made her the 
leading power on the Continent ! 

The young officer, now so distinguished, had 
married in the early part of his career the widow 
of M. de Beauharnais, one of the victims of ' 
the Reign of Terror. During his absence in 
Egypt, the Directorate, and the Legislature, and 
the people had all become embroiled in dis- 
sensions. Things were falling again into 
chaos, w T ith no hand to hold them together. 
Discontent was rife, and men were asking why 
the one man, the little dark man who knew how 
to do and to compel things, and to maintain 
discipline, why he w r as sent to the Nile and the 
Pyramids ! 

Josephine, from Paris, kept Napoleon in- 
formed of these conditions. So, leaving his 
army in charge of Kleber, he unexpectedly re- 


turned. He knew what he was going to do ; 
and he also knew he could depend upon the 
army to sustain him. By political moves as 
adroit and unexpected as his tactics on the field, 
the Directorate was swept out of existence, and 
Napoleon was first consul of France. 

It was a long step backward. The pendu- 
lum was returning once more toward a strong 
executive, and to centralization. From this 
moment, until he was a prisoner in the hands 
of the English, Napoleon Bonaparte was sole 
master of France. 

The early simplicity of the republic was dis- 
appearing. The receptions of the first consul 
at the Tuileries began to recall the days at Ver- 
sailles. Josephine, fascinating, and perfect in 
the art of dress, knew well how to maintain the 
splendor of her new court; as also did Bona- 
parte's sisters, with their beauty and their brill- 
iant talents. But outside of France, and across 
the channel, the consul was only a usurper, and 
Louis XVIII. was king an uncrowned but 
legitimate sovereign! 

Perhaps it is not too much to say that noth- 
ing in Napoleon's career has left such enduring 
traces, and so permanently influenced civiliza- 


tion, as two acts performed at this period : the 
creation of that monumental work of genius the 
codification of the laws of France and the sale 
of Louisiana to the United States. Spain had 
ceded this large territory to France in 1763, and 
Bonaparte realizing that he was not in a posi- 
tion to hold it now, if attacked, sold it to the 
United States (1803), in order to keep it out 
of the hands of England. 

The goal to which things were tending w r as 
realized by some. A conspiracy against the 
life of the consul was discovered. Napoleon 
suspected it to have originated with the Bour- 
bons ; and the death of the young Duke d'En- 
ghien, a son of the Prince of Conde, without 
pity or justice, w^as intended to strike with ter- 
ror all who were plotting for his down! all. The 
swiftness with w y hich it was done, the darkness 
under the walls of Vincennes, the lantern on 
the breast of the victim, and the file of soldiers 
at midnight, all conspired to warn conspirators 
of the fate awaiting them. It was the criti- 
cal moment at hand which turned Bonaparte's 
heart to steel. 

Only a fe\v days after this tragedy at Vin- 
cennes a proposition was made in the Tribunate 


to bestow upon the first consul the title of 
hereditary Emperor of the French ! 

This new Charlemagne did not go to the pope 
to be crowned, as that other had done in the 
year 800 ; but at his bidding the pope came to 
him. And when on the 2d of December, 1804, 
the crown of France was placed upon his head, 
the great drama commenced in 1789 had ended. 
Rivers of blood had flowed to free her from 
despotism, and France was held by a power 
more despotic than that of Richelieu or of 
Louis XIV. 

At war with all of Europe, Napoleon swiftly 
unfolded his great plan not only to conquer, but 
to demolish not one state, but all. He was 
going to create an empire out of a federation of 
European kingdoms all held in his own hand, 
and to tear in pieces the old map of Europe, 
precisely as he had the map of Italy. He was 
going to break down the old historic divisions 
and landmarks, and create new, as he had cre- 
ated a kingdom of Italy out of Italian repub- 
lics. So, while he w r as fighting a combined 
Europe, Bavaria, Wiirtemberg, and Saxony 
had become kingdoms, and the West German 
States, seventeen in number, were all merged 


in a Confederation of the Rhine, " the Rhein- 
bund," under a French Protectorate, 

Then Austria felt the weight of his hand. 
Francis Joseph wore the double crown created 
by Charlemagne a thousand years before, and 
was Emperor of Rome as well as of Germany. 
It had become an empty title; but it was the 
sacred tradition of a Holy Roman Empire, the 
empire which had dominated the world during 
the Middle Ages, and while Europe was com- 
ing into form. Napoleon was ploughing deep 
into the soil of the past when he told Francis 
Joseph he must drop the title of Emperor of 
Rome ! And it is a startling indication of his 
power that the emperor unresistingly obeyed; 
the logical meaning, of course, being that he, 
already King of Italy, was the successor to 
Charlemagne and the head of a new Roman 

England, never having felt the touch of this 
insolent conqueror upon her own soil, was still 
the bitterest of all in the coalition, and was more 
indignant over the humiliation of Germany 
than she seemed to be herself. Prussia, at last 
reluctantly opposing him, was defeated at Jena, 
1806, a time during which the beautiful Queen 


Louise was the heroine, and the one brave 
enough to defy him ; and then the peace of Til- 
sit, 1807, completed the humiliation of the king- 
dom created by the great elector. 

It would seem that the people as well as 
the armies of Germany were captured by this 
man, when we hear that ninety German authors 
dedicated their books to him, a servile press 
praised him, and one of Beethoven's greatest 
sonatas was inspired by him. But a man so 
colossal and dazzling could only ^ accurately 
measured at a distance. Even yet we are too 
near to him for that, and the world has not 
yet come to an agreement concerning him, any 
more than as to the true analysis of the char- 
acter of Hamlet. 

There was now scarcely an uncrowned head 
in Napoleon's family. His brother Louis, who 
had married his step-daughter, Hortense Beau- 
harnais, was king of Holland. His brother- 
in-law Murat he made king of Naples ; Eugene 
Beauharnais, his step-son, viceroy of Italy ; his 
brother Jerome, King of Westphalia ; and then 
his brother Joseph was placed upon the throne 
of Spain, from which an indignant people drove 
him ingloriously away. 


In an hour's interview with Alexander, Em- 
peror of Russia, Napoleon had by the magic of 
superiority secured that emperor's friendship 
and co-operation in his plans against England. 
All this excellent man was fighting for was the 
peace of Europe! And he disclosed to Alex- 
ander his plan that they two should be the eter- 
nal custodians of that peace; which was to be 
secured by restraining the arrogance of Eng- 
land, and that was to be done by ruining the 
commercial prosperity of that nation of shop- 
keepers. There was to be organized a conti- 
nental blockade against England. Europe was 
to be forbidden to trade with that country. 

A plan was forming in the mind of Napo- 
leon which was destined as the turning-point 
in his astonishing career. It was of vast im- 
portance to him that he should have an heir to 
the great inheritance he was creating. By 
repudiating Josephine, and marrying the daugh- 
ter of Francis Joseph, there might be an heir 
who would also be the legitimate descendant of 
the Caesars ; thus immensely fortifying the em- 
pire after his ow y n death. 

When this thought took possession of his 
mind, the psychological moment had arrived.. 


The tide had turned toward disaster. The 
marriage with Maria Louisa took place at Paris 
in 1810. The marriage of Napoleon with a 
Hapsburg was not pleasing to the French peo- 
ple, who took pride in the simple origin of 
their emperor and empress. This hero of Ma- 
rengo, and Austerlitz, and Jena, and Wagram, 
the man before whom Europe trembled, was he 
not, after all, only a crowned citizen? And 
was this not a triumph for the revolutionary 
principle which offset the existence of an em- 
pire, as its final result? 

Alexander had broken away from his agree- 
ment and his friendship with the emperor, and 
had joined the allies. So in 1812 the long- 
contemplated invasion of Russia began. Of 
the 678,000 souls recruited chiefly from con- 
quered states, only 80,000 would ever return. 
Never before had Napoleon fought the ele- 
ments, and never before met overwhelming de- 
feat ! The flames at Moscow, followed by the 
arctic cold, converted the campaign into a vast 

With indomitable courage another grand 
army had filled the vacant places, and was put- 
ting down a great uprising in Germany. But 


his star was waning. An overwhelming de- 
feat at Leipsic was followed by a march upon 
Paris. And in the spring of 1814, Alexander, 
the young" Russian emperor, the friend who was 
to aid him in securing an eternal peace for 
Europe, was dictating the terms of surrender 
in Paris. 

Within a week Napoleon had abdicated. 
The title of emperor he was permitted to re- 
tain, buC the empire which he was to leave to 
the infant son of Maria Louisa, now two years 
old, had shrunk to the little island of Elba, on 
the west coast of Italy ! 


THE allied powers named Louis XVIII., the 
brother of Louis XVI., for the vacant throne, 
who promised the people to reign under a con- 
stitutional government. 

The man who had deserted his brother in 
his extremity, a man who represented nothing 
not loyalty to the past, nor sympathy with a 
single aspiration of the present was king. 
As he passed under triumphal arches on the 
way to the Tuileries, there was sitting beside 
him a sad, pale-faced woman; this was the 
Duchesse d'Angouleme, the daughter of Louis 
XVI., the little girl who was prisoner in the 
Temple twenty years before. What must she 
have felt and thought as she passed the very 
spot where had stood the scaffold in 1793 ! 

Almost the first act of Louis XVIII. was the 

removal of the mutilated remains of the king 

and queen and his sister Elizabeth to the royal 

vault in the Church of St. Denis. He then 



gave orders for a Chapelle Expiatoire to be 
erected over the grave where they had been 
lying for two decades, and for masses to be 
said for the repose of the souls of his murdered 
relatives. Paris was full of returning royal- 
ists. Banished exiles with grand old names, 
who had been earning a scanty living by teach- 
ing French and dancing in Vienna, London, 
and even in New York, were hastening to Paris 
for a joyful Restoration; and Louis XVIII., 
while Russian and Austrian troops guarded 
him on the streets of his own capital, was freely 
talking about ruling by divine right! 

That king was reigning under a liberal char- 
ter (as the new constitution was called) a 
charter which guaranteed almost as much per- 
sonal liberty as the one obtained in England 
from King John in 1215 ; and the palpable ab- 
surdity of supposing that he and his supporters 
might at the same time revive and maintain 
Bourbon traditions, as if there had been no 
Revolution, was at least not an indication of 
much sagacity. 

But there was a very smooth surface. The 
tricolor had disappeared. Napoleon's gen- 
erals had gone unresistingly over to the Bour- 


bons. Talleyrand adapted himself as quickly 
to the new regime as he had to the Napoleonic ; 
was witty at the expense of the empire and the 
emperor, who, as he said, " was not even a 
Frenchman " ; and was as crafty and as useful 
an instrument for the new ruler as he had been 
for the pre-existing one. 

But something was happening under the sur- 
face. While the plenipotentiaries were busy 
over their task of restoring boundaries in 
Europe, and the other restoration was going 
on pleasantly in Paris, a rumor came that Na- 
poleon was in Lyons. A regiment was at once 
despatched to drive him back; and Marshal 
Ney, " the bravest of the brave/ 3 was sent with 
orders to arrest him. 

The next news that came to Paris was that 
the troops were frantically shouting e Vive 
Fempereur! " and Ney was embracing his be- 
loved commander and pledging his sword in his 

At midnight the king left the Tuileries for 
the Flemish frontier, and before the dawn Na- 
poleon was in his Palace of Fontainebleau 
(March 2Oth), which he had left exactly eleven 
months before. The night after the departure 


of the king there suddenly appeared lights pass- 
ing swiftly over the Pont de la Concorde; then 
came the tramp of horses' feet, and a carriage 
attended on each side by cavalry with drawn 
swords. The carriage stopped at the first en- 
trance to the garden of the Tuileries, and a 
small man with a dark, determined face was 
borne into the palace the Bourbon had just 

There was consternation in the Council 
Chamber in London when the Duke of Wel- 
lington entered and announced that Napoleon 
was in Paris, and all must be done over again ! 

Immediate preparations were made for a 
renewal of the war. It was easy to find men 
to fight the emperor's battles. All France was 
at his feet. 

The decisive moment was at hand. Napo- 
leon had crossed into the Netherlands, and 
Wellington was waiting to meet him. 

The struggle at Waterloo had lasted many 
hours. The result, so big with fate, was trem- 
bling in the balance, when suddenly the boom- 
ing of Prussian guns was heard, and Welling- 
ton was re-enforced by Bliicher. This was the 
end. The French were defeated (June 18, 


1815). Napoleon was in the hands of the 
English, and was to be carried a life-prisoner 
to the island of St. Helena. 

Louis XVIIL, who had been waiting at 
Ghent, immediately returned to the Tuileries, 
and to his foolish task of posing as a liberal 
king to his people, and as a reactionary one to 
his royalist adherents. The country was full 
of disappointed, imbittered imperialists, and of 
angry and revengeful royalists. The Cham- 
ber of Peers immediately issued a decree for the 
perpetual banishment of the family of Bona- 
parte from French soil ; the extremists demand- 
ing that the families of the men who had con- 
sented to the death of Louis XVI. be included 
in .the decree. Sentence of death was passed 
upon Marshal Ney, as a traitor to France. 
Some might have said that a greater traitor 
was at the Tuileries ; but the most picturesque 
in that heroic group of Napoleon's marshals 
was shot to death. 

There was, in fact, a determined purpose to 
undo all the work of the Revolution ; to restore 
the supremacy and the property of the Church, 
and the power of the nobility. In the mean- 
time, the people, perfectly aware that the re- 


turned exiles were impoverished, were paying 
taxes to maintain foreign troops which were 
in France for the sole purpose of enabling the 
king's government to accomplish these things 1 

Here was material enough for discord in a 
troubled reign which lasted nine years. Louis 
XVIII. died September 16, 1824; and the 
Count of Artois, the brother of two kings, was 
proclaimed Charles X. of France. 

If there had been any doubt about the real 
sentiments of Louis XVIII., it must have been 
dispelled by the last act of his reign, when, at 
the bidding of the Holy Alliance, he sent 
French soldiers to put down the Spanish lib- 
erals in their fight for a constitution. 

But Charles X. did not intend to assume the 
thin mask worn by his brother. He had 
marked out a different course. All disguise 
was to be thrown aside in a Bourbon reign of 
the ante-revolutionary sort. The press was 
strictly censored, the charter altered, the law 
of primogeniture restored; and when saluted 
on the streets of Paris by cries of " Give us 
back our charter ! " the answer made to his 
people by this infatuated man was, " I am here 
to receive homage, not counsel/' 


One wonders that a brother of Louis XVI., 
one who had been a fugitive from a Paris mob 
in 1789 if he had a memory dared to exas- 
perate the people of France. 

On the 29th of July a revolt had become a 
Revolution, and once more the Marquis de 
Lafayette was in charge of the municipal troops, 
which assembled at St. Cloud and other defen- 
sive points. 

In vain did Charles protest that he would 
revoke every offensive ordinance, and restore 
the charter. It was too late. 

Louis Philippe, Duke of Orleans, was ap- 
pointed lieutenant-general of the kingdom. 
When he appeared at the Hotel de Ville 
wearing the tricolor, his future was already 

There was only one thing left now for 
Charles to do : he formally abdicated, and signed 
the paper authorizing the appointment of his 
cousin to the position of lieutenant-general; 
and ten days later, Louis Philippe, son of 
Philippe Egalite, occupied the throne he left. 

The note struck by this new king was the 
absolute surrender of the principle of divine 
right He was a "citizen king"; his title 


being bestowed not by a divine hand, but by 
the people, whose voice was the voice of God ! 
The title itself bore .witness to a new order 
of things. Louis Philippe was not King of 
France, but " King of the French." King of 
France carried with it the old feudal idea of 
proprietorship and sovereignty; while a King 
of the French was merely a leader of the people, 
not the owner of their soil. The charter and 
all existing conditions were modified to con- 
form to this ideal, and on the Qth of August the 
reign of the constitutional king began. 

It was the middle class in France which sup- 
ported this reign; the class below that would 
never forget that he was, after all, a Bourbon 
and a king ; while the two classes above, both 
royalists and imperialists, were unfriendly, one 
regarding him as a usurper on the throne of 
the legitimate king, and the other as a weak- 
ling unfit to occupy the throne of Napoleon. 

When Charles X. tried to secure the banish- 
ment of the families of the men who had voted 
for the death of Louis XVI., he may have had 
in mind his cousin, the son of Philippe Egalite, 
the wickedest and most despicable of the regi- 
cides. Whatever his father had been, Louis 


Philippe was far from being a wicked man. 
Whether teaching school in Switzerland, or 
giving French lessons in America, he was the 
kindest-hearted and most inoffensive of gentle- 
men. The only trouble with this reign was 
that it was not heroic. The most emotional 
and romantic people in Europe had a common- 
place king. Only once was there a throb of 
genuine enthusiasm during the eighteen years 
of his occupancy of the throne, and that was 
when the remains of their adored Napoleon 
were brought from St. 'Helena and placed in 
that magnificent tomb in the Hotel des In- 
valides by order of the king, who sent his son, 
the Prince de Joinville, to bring this gift to 
the people. The act was gracious, but it was 
also hazardous. Perhaps the king did not 
know how slight was his hold upon this im- 
aginative people, nor the possible effect of con- 

Under the new order of things in a consti- 
tutional monarchy the king does not govern, 
he reigns. He was chosen by the people as 
their ornamental figure-head. But what if he 
ceased to be ornamental? What was the use 
of a king who in eighteen years had added not 


a single ray of glory to the national name, but 
who was using his high position to increase his 
enormous private fortune, and incessantly beg- 
ging an impoverished country for benefits and 
emoluments for five sons? 

An excellent father, truly, though a short- 
sighted one. His power had no roots. The 
cutting from the Orleans tree had never taken, 
hold upon the soil, and toppled over at the sound 
of Lamartine's voice proclaiming a republic 
from the balcony of the Hotel de Ville. 

When invited to step down from his royal 
throne, he did so on the instant. Never did 
king succumb with such alacrity, and never 
did retiring royalty look less imposing than 
when Louis Philippe was in hiding at Havre 
under the name of " William Smith/' wait- 
ing for safe convoy to England, without 
having struck one blow in defence of his 

But three terrible words had floated into the 
open windows of the Tuileries. With the 
echoes of 1792 still sounding in his ears, " Lib- 
erty/' " Equality/' and " Fraternity/' shouted 
in the streets of Paris, had not a pleasant 
sound ! 


Republicanism was an abiding sentiment in 
France, even while two dull Bourbon kings 
were stupidly trying to turn back the hands on 
the dial of time, and while an Orleans, with 
more supple neck, was posing as a popular sov- 
ereign. During all this tiresome interlude the 
real fact was developing. A Republican senti- 
ment which had existed vaguely in the air was 
materializing, consolidating, into a more and 
more tangible reality in the minds of thinking 
men and patriots. 

The ablest men in the country stood with 
plans matured, ready to meet this crisis. A 
republic was proclaimed; M. de Lamartine, 
Ledru-Rollin, General Cavaignac, M. Raspail, 
and Louis Napoleon were rival candidates for 
the office of President. 

The nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, and son 
of Hortense, was only known as the perpetrator 
of two very absurd attempts to overthrow the 
monarchy under Louis Philippe. But since the 
remains of the great emperor had been returned 
to France by England, and the splendors of the 
past placed in striking contrast with a dull, 
lustreless present, there had been a revival of 
Napoleonic memories and enthusiasm. Here 


was an opportunity to unite two powerful sen- 
timents in one man & Napoleon at the head of 
republican France would express the glory of 
the past and the hope of the future. 

The magic of the name was irresistible. 
Louis Napoleon was elected President of the 
second Republic, and history prepared to repeat 


A REVOLUTION scarcely deserving- the name 
had made France a second time a republic. 
The Second French Republic was the creation 
of no particular party. In fact, it seemed to 
have sprung into being spontaneously out of 
the soil of discontent. 

Its immediate cause was the forbidding of 
a banquet which was arranged to take place 
in Paris on Washington's birthday, February 
22d, 1848. M. Guizot, who had succeeded M. 
Thiers as head of the ministry, knowing the 
political purpose for which it was intended, 
and that it was a part of an impending demon- 
stration in the hands of dangerous agitators, 
would not permit the banquet to take place. 

This was the signal for an insurrection Sy 
a Paris mob, which immediately led to a change 
in the form of government a crisis which the 
nation had taken no part in inaugurating. 
Revolution had been written In French his- 


tory in very large Roman capitals ! But when 
the smoke from this smallest of revolutions 
had curled away, there stood Louis Napoleon 
son of the great Bonaparte's brother Louis 
and Hortense de Beauharnais who had been 
elected president by vote of the nation. 

France did not know whether she was 
pleased or not Inexperienced in the art of 
government, she only knew that she wanted 
prosperity, and conditions which would give 
opportunity to the genius of her people. Any 
form of government, or any ruler who could 
produce these, would be accepted. She had 
suffered much, and was bewildered by fears 
of anarchy on one side and of tyranny on the 
other. If she looked doubtfully at this dark, 
mysterious, unmagnetic man, she remembered 
it was only for four years, and was as safe as 
any other experiment ; and the author of those 
two ridiculous attempts at a restoration of the 
empire, made at Strasbourg and at Boulogne, 
was not a man to be feared. 

The overthrow of monarchy in France had, 
however, been taken more seriously in other 
countries than at home. It had kindled anew 
the fires of republicanism all over Europe: 


Kossuth leading a revolution in Hungary, and 
Garibaldi and Mazzini in Italy, where Victor 
Emmanuel, the young King of Sardinia, was 
at the moment in deadly struggle with Austria 
over the possession of Milan, and dreaming of 
the day when a united Italy would be freed 
from the Austrian yoke. 

The man at the head of the French Republic 
was surveying all these conditions with an in- 
telligence, strong and even subtle, of which no 
one suspected him, and viewed with satisfaction 
the extinguishment of the revolutionary fires 
in Europe, which had been kindled by the one 
in France to which he owed his own elevation ! 

The Assembly soon realized that in this 
prince-president it had no automaton to deal 
with. A deep antagonism grew, and the cun- 
ningly devised issue could not fail to secure 
popular support to Louis Napoleon. When 'an 
assembly is at war with the president because 
it desires to restrict the suffrage, and he to 
make it universal, can anyone doubt the re- 
sult ? He was safe in appealing to the people 
on such an issue, and sure of being sustained 
in his proclamation dissolving the Assembly. 

The Assembly refused to be dissolved. 


Then, on the morning of December 2, 1851, 
there occurred the famous coup d'etat, when 
all the leading members were arrested at their 
homes, and Louis Napoleon, relying absolutely 
upon their suffrages, stood before the French 
nation, with a constitution already prepared, 
which actually bestowed imperial powers upon 
himself. And the suddenness and the auda- 
cious spirit with which it was done really 
pleased a people wearied by incompetency in 
their rulers ; and so, just one year later, in 1852, 
the nation ratified the coup d'etat by voluntarily- 
offering to Louis Napoleon the title, Napoleon 
III., Emperor of the French. 

His Mephistophelian face did not look as 
classic under the laurel wreath as had his 
uncle's, nor had his work the blinding splendor 
nor the fineness of texture of his great model. 
But then, an imitation never has. It was a 
marble masterpiece, done in plaster ! But what 
a clever reproduction it was! And how, by 
sheer audacity, it compelled recognition and 
homage, and at last even adulation in Europe! 
and what a clever stroke it was, for this 
heavy, unsympathetic man to bring up to his 
throne from the people a radiant empress, 


who would capture romantic and aesthetic 
France ! 

It was a far cry from cheap lodgings in New 
York to a seat upon the imperial throne of 
France ; but human ambition is not easily satis- 
fied. A Pelion always rises beyond an Ossa. 
It was not enough to feel that he had re-estab- 
lished the prosperity and prestige of France, 
that fresh glory had been added to the Napole- 
onic name. Was there not, after all, a certain 
irritating reserve in the homage paid him? 
was there not a touch of condescension in the 
friendship of his royal neighbors? And had 
he not always a Mordecai at his gate 1 while 
the Faubourg St. Germain stood aloof and dis- 
dainful, smiling at his brand-new aristoc- 

War is the thing to give solidity to empire 
and to reputation! So, when invited to join 
the allies in a war upon Russia in defence of 
Turkey, Louis Napoleon accepted with alac- 
rity. France had no interests to serve in the 
Crimean War (1854-56) ; but the newly made 
emperor did not underestimate the value of 
this recognition by his royal neighbors, and 
French soldiers and French gun-boats largely 


contributed to the success of the allied forces 
in the East. 

The little Kingdom of Sardinia, as the nu- 
cleus of the new Italy was called, had also joined 
the allies in this war; and thus a slender tie 
had been created between her and France at a 
time when Austria was savagely attacking her 
possessions in the north of Italy. 

When Napoleon was privately sounded by 
Count Cavour, he named as his price for inter- 
vention in Italy two things: the cession to 
France of the Duchy of Savoy, and the mar- 
riage of his cousin, Jerome Bonaparte, with 
Clo tilde, the young daughter of Victor Em- 
manuel. Savoy was the ancestral home of the 
king, and the only thing he loved more than 
Savoy was his daughter Clotilde, just fifteen 
years old. The terms w T ere hard, but they were 

When Louis Napoleon entered Italy with 
his army in 1859, it was as a liberator dra- 
matically declaring that he came to " give Italy 
to herself " ; that she was to be " free, from the 
Alps to the Adriatic " ! The victory at Magenta 
was the first step toward the realization of this 
glorious promise; quickly followed by another 


at Solferino. Milan was restored, Lombardy 
was free, and as the news sped toward the 
south the Austrian dukes of Tuscany, Modena, 
and Parma fled in dismay, and these rejoicing 
states offered their allegiance, not to the King 
of Sardinia, now, but to the King of Italy. 
There were only two more states to be freed, 
only Venetia and the papal state of Rome, and 
a " United Italy " would indeed be " free from 
the Alps to the Adriatic." 

Then the unexpected happened. The dra- 
matic pledge was not to be kept. Venetia w r as 
not to be liberated. The Peace of Villafranca 
was signed. Austria relinquished Lombardy, 
but was permitted to retain Venice. Cavour, 
white with rage, said, " Cut loose from the 
traitor! Refuse Lombardy!" But Victor 
Emmanuel saw more clearly the path of wis- 
dom ; and so, after only two months of warfare, 
Napoleon was taking back to France Savoy and 
Nice as trophies of his brilliant expedition. 

This liberator of an Italy which was not 
liberated, would have liked to restore the fleeing 
Austrian dukes to their respective thrones in 
Florence, Modena, and Parma ; but he did what 
was more effectual and pleasing to the enemies 


of a united Italy: he garrisoned Rome with 
French troops, and promised Pius IX. any 
needed protection for the papal throne. 

One can imagine how Garibaldi's heart was 
wrung when he exclaimed, " That man has 
made me a foreigner in my own city ! " And 
so might have said the king himself. 

The emperor and the empire had been im- 
mensely strengthened by the Italian campaign. 
France was rejoicing in a phenomenal pros- 
perity, reaching every part of the land. There 
was a new France and a new Paris ; new boule- 
vards were made, gardens and walks and drives 
laid out, and a renewed and magnificent city 
extended from the Bois de Vincennes on one 
side to the Bois de Boulogne on the other. 
With the building of public works there was 
occupation for all, resulting in the repose for 
which France had longed. 

The Empress Eugenie was beautiful and 
gracious, and her court at Versailles, Fontaine- 
bleau, and the Tnileries compared well in splen- 
dor with the traditions of the past. 

The emperor's ambitions began to take on 
a larger form. Under the auspices of the gov- 
ernment, M. Lesseps commenced a transisth- 


mian canal, which would open communication 
between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red 
Sea. Then, in 1862, a less peaceful scheme 
developed. An expedition was planned to 
Mexico, against which country France had a 
small grievance. 

The United States was at this time fighting 
for its life in a civil war of gigantic propor- 
tions. The time was favorable for a plan con- 
ceived by the emperor to convert Mexico into 
an empire under a French protectorate. The 
principle known as the Monroe Doctrine for- 
bade the establishment of any European power 
upon the Western hemisphere ; but the United 
States was powerless at the moment to defend 
it, and by the time her hands were free, even if 
she were not disrupted, an Empire of Mexico 
would be established, and French troops could 
defend it. 

In a few months the French army was in 
the city of Mexico, and an Austrian prince was 
proclaimed emperor of a Mexican empire. 

This ill-conceived expedition came to a tragic 
and untimely end in 1867. The civil war ended 
triumphantly for the Union. Napoleon, real- 
izing that, with her hands free, the United 


States would fight for the maintenance of 
the Monroe Doctrine, promptly withdrew the 
French army from Mexico, leaving the emperor 
to his fate. A republic was at once established, 
and the unfortunate Maximilian was ordered 
to be shot. 

The finances of France and the prestige of 
the emperor had both suffered from this miser- 
able attempt. At the same time, something 
had occurred which changed the entire Euro- 
pean problem in a way most distasteful to 
Louis Napoleon. Prussia, in a seven weeks' 
war, had wrenched herself free from Austria 
(1866). Instead of a disrupted United States, 
which lie had expected, there w r as a dis- 
rupted German Empire w y hich he did not 
expect ! 

The triumph of Protestant Prussia was a 
triumph of liberalism. It meant a new polit- 
ical power, a rearrangement of the political 
problem in Europe, with Austria and despot- 
ism deposed. This was a distinct blow to the 
Emperor's policy, and to the headship in Eu- 
rope which was its aim. Then, too, the 
Crimea, Magenta, and Solferino looked less 
brilliant since this transforming seven-weeks' 


war, behind which stood Bismarck with his 
wide-reaching plans. 

His own magnificent scheme of a Hapstmrg 
empire in Mexico under a French protectorate 
had failed, and now there had suddenly arisen, 
as if out of the ground, a new political Ger- 
many which rivalled France in strength. The 
thing to do was to recover his waning prestige 
by a victory over Prussia. 

The Empress Eugenie, devoutly Catholic in 
her sympathies, saw, in the ascendancy of Prot- 
estant Prussia and the humiliation of Catholic 
Austria, an impious blow aimed at the Catholic 
faith in Europe. So, as the emperor wanted 
war, and the empress wanted it, it only re- 
mained to make France want it too; for war it 
was to be. 

Only one obstacle existed : there was nothing 
to fight about! But that was overcome. In 
1870 the heart of the people of France was 
fired by the news that the French Ambassador 
had been publicly insulted by the kindly old 
King William. There had been some diplo- 
matic friction over the proposed occupancy of 
a vacant throne in Spain by a member of the 
Hohenzollern (Prussian) family. 


Whether true or false, the rumor served the 
'desired purpose. France was in a blaze of in- 
dignation, and war was declared. 

Not a shadow of doubt existed as to the re- 
sult as the French army moved away bearing 
with it the boy prince imperial, that he might 
witness the triumph. Not only would the 
French soldiers carry everything before them, 
but the southern German States would wel- 
come them as deliverers, and the new 7 confeder- 
ation would fall in pieces in their hands. The 
birthday of Napoleon L, August 15th, must be 
celebrated in Berlin! 

This was the way it looked in France. How 
was it in Germany? There was no North and 
no South German. Men and states sprang 
together as a unit, under the command of 
Moltke and the Crown Prince Frederick 

The French troops never got beyond their 
ow r n frontier. In less than three weeks they 
were fighting for their existence on their own 
soil. In less than a month the French emperor 
was a prisoner, and in seven weeks his empire 
had ceased to exist. 

The surrender of Metz, August 4th, and of 


Sedan, September 2d, were monumental dis- 
asters. With the news of the latter, and of 
the capture of the emperor, the Assembly im- 
mediately declared the empire at an end, and 
proclaimed a third republic in France. 

Two hundred and fifty thousand German 
troops were marching on Paris. Fortifications 
were rapidly thrown about the city, and the 
siege, which was to last four months, had com- 

The capitulation, which was inevitable from 
the first, took place in January, 1871. The 
terms of peace offered by the Germans were 
accepted, including the loss of Alsace and Lor- 
raine, and an enormous war indemnity. 

The Germans were in Paris, and King Will- 
iam, the Crown Prince (Unser Frits), Bis- 
marck, and Von Moltke were quartered at Ver- 
sailles; and in that place, saturated with his- 
toric memories, there was enacted a strange 
and unprecedented scene. On January 18, 
1871, in the Hall of Mirrors, King William of 
Prussia was formally proclaimed Emperor of 
a new German Empire. Ludwig II., that pic- 
turesque young King of Bavaria, in the name of 
the rest of the German states, laid their united 


allegiance at his feet, and begged him to accept 
the crown of a united Germany. 

Moved by his colossal misfortunes, and per- 
haps partly in displeasure at having a French 
republic once more at her door, England offered 
asylum to the deposed emperor. There, from 
the seclusion of Chiselhurst, he and his still 
beautiful Eugenie watched the republic weath- 
ering the first days of storm and stress. 


IMMEDIATELY after the deposition of the 
emperor a third Republic of France was pro- 
claimed. A temporary government was set tip 
under the direction of MM. Favre, Gambetta, 
Simon, Ferry, Rochefort, and others of pro- 
nounced republican tendencies. 

This was speedily superseded by a National 
Assembly elected by the people, with M. Thiers 
acting as its executive head. 

During the siege of Paris an internal enemy 
had appeared, more dangerous, and proving in 
the end far more destructive to the city than 
the German army which occupied it. 

What is known as the Paris Commune was 
a mob of desperate men led by Socialistic and 
Anarchistic agitators of the kind which at 
intervals try to terrorize civilization to-day. 

The ideas at the basis of this insurrection 
were the same as those which converted a 
patriotic revolution into a " Reign of Terror JJ 


in 1789, and Paris into a slaughter-house in 

Twice during the siege had there been violent 
and alarming outbreaks from this vicious ele- 
ment; and now it was in desperate struggle 
with the government of M. Thiers for control 
of that city, which they succeeded in obtaining. 
M. Thiers, his government, and his troops were 
established at Versailles ; w r hile Paris, for two 
months, was in the hands of these desperadoes, 
who were sending out their orders from the 
Hotel de Ville. 

When finally routed by Marshal MacMa- 
hon's troops, after drenching some of the prin- 
cipal buildings with petroleum they set them 
on fire. The Tuileries and the Hotel de Ville 
were consumed, as were also portions of the 
Louvre, the Palais Royal, and the Palais de 
Luxembourg*, and the city in many places de- 
faced and devastated. 

The insurrection was not subdued without 
a savage conflict, ten thousand insurgents, it 
is said, being killed during the last week ; this 
being followed by severe military executions. 
Then, with some of her most dearly prized 
historic treasures in ashes, and monuments 


gone, Paris, scarred and defaced, had quiet at 
last; and the organization of the third repub- 
lic proceeded. 

The uncertain nature of the republican sen- 
timent existing throughout France at this crit- 
ical moment is indicated by the character of 
the Assembly elected by the people. More than 
two-thirds of the members chosen by France 
to organize her new republic were monarchists! 

The name monarchist at that time compre- 
hended three distinct parties, each with a 
powerful following, namely: 

The LEGITIMISTS, acting in the interest of 
the direct Bourbon line, represented by the 
Count of Chambord., the grandson of Charles 
X., called by his party Henry V. 

The ORLEANISTS, the party desiring the res- 
toration of a limited monarchy, in the person 
of the Count of Paris, grandson of Louis 

The BONAPARTISTS, whose candidate, after 
the death of the Emperor Louis Napoleon in 
1873, was ^ e young Prince Imperial, son of 
Napoleon III. [Napoleon II., the Duke of 
Reichstadt, had died in 1832.] 

M. Thiers had not an easy task in harmoniz- 


Ing* these various despotic types with each other, 
nor in harmonizing them all collectively with 
the republic of which he was chief. He aban- 
doned the attempt in 1873, anc ^ Marshal Mac- 
Mahon, a more pronounced monarchist than 
he, succeeded to the office of president, with the 
Due de Broglie at the head of a reactionary 
ministry. It began to look as if there might 
be a restoration under some one of the three 
types mentioned. The Count of Paris gener- 
ously offered to relinquish his claim in favor 
of the Count of Chambord (Henry V.), if he 
would accept the principles of a constitutional 
monarchy, which that uncompromising Bour- 
bon absolutely refused to do. 

In the meantime republican sentiment in 
France was not dead, nor sleeping. Calamitous 
experiences had made it cautious. Freedom 
and anarchy had so often been mistaken for 
each other, it was learning to move slowly, not 
by leaps and bounds as heretofore. 

Gambetta, the republican leader, once so 
fiery, had also grown cautious, A patriot and 
a statesman, he was the one man who seemed 
to possess the genius required by the condi- 
tions and the time, and also the kind of mag- 


netism which would draw together and crys- 
tallize the scattered elements of his party. 

It was the stimulus imparted by Gambetta 
which made the government at last republican 
in fact as well as in name; and as reactionary 
sentiment increased on the surface, a republi- 
can sentiment was all the time gathering in 
volume and strength below. 

The death of the prince imperial, in 1879, 
in South Africa, was a severe blow to the im- 
perialists, as the Bonapartists were also called, 
who were now represented by Prince Victor, 
the son of Prince Napoleon. 

Although these rival princes occupied a 
large place upon the stage, other matters had 
the attention of the government of France, 
which moved calmly on. The establishing of 
a formal protectorate over Algeria belongs to 
this period. 

Ever since the reign of Louis XIV. the hand 
of France had held Algeria with more or less 
success. The Grand Monarch determined to 
rid the Mediterranean of the " Barbary pi- 
rates/' with which it was infested, and so they 
were pursued and traced to their lairs in Al- 
giers and Tunis. From this time on attempts 


were made at intervals to establish a French 
control over this African colony. During the 
reign of Louis Philippe the French occupation 
became more assured, and under the Republic 
a formal protectorate was declared. 

In 1881 Tunis also became a dependency of 
France; a treaty to that effect being signed 
bestowing authority upon a resident-general 
throughout the so-called dominions of the bey. 

The fact that in 1878 France participated 
in the negotiations of the Congress at Berlin, 
shows how quickly national wounds heal at the 
top! And further proof that normal conditions 
were restored, is given by the Universal Ex- 
position, to which Paris bravely invited the 
world in that same year. 

In 1879 M. Grevy succeeded Marshal Mac- 
Mahon. It was during M. Grevy's adminis- 
tration that England and France combined in 
a dual financial control over Egypt, in behalf 
of the interests of the citizens of those two 
countries who were holders of Egyptian bonds. 

But the event of profoundest effect at this 
period was the death of Gambetta in 1882. 
The removal of the only man in France whom 
they feared, was the signal for renewed activ- 


ity among the monarchists, which found ex- 
pression in a violent manifesto, immediately 
issued by Prince Napoleon. This awoke the 
apparently dormant republican sentiment. 
After agitated scenes in the Chamber, Prince 
Napoleon was arrested; and finally, after a 
prolonged struggle, a decree was issued sus- 
pending all the Orleans princes from their mili- 
tary functions. 

Almost immediately after this crisis the 
Count of Chambord (Henry V.) died at Frohs- 
dorf, August, 1883, by which event the Bour- 
bon branch became extinct; and the Legiti- 
mists, with their leader gone, united with the 
Orleanists in supporting the Count of Paris. 

A small war with Cochin-China was devel- 
oped in 1884 out of a diplomatic difficulty, 
which left France with virtual control over an 
area of territory, including Annam and Ton- 
quin, in the far East. 

In 1885 M. Grevy was re-elected. This 
was, of course, construed as a vote of approval 
of the anti-monarchistic tone of the adminis- 
tration. So republicanism grew bolder. 

There had been an increased activity among 
the agents of the monarchist party, which found 


expression in demonstrations of a very sig- 
nificant character at the time of the marriage 
of the daughter of the Count of Paris to the 
Crown Prince of Portugal. The republicans 
were determined to rid France of this unceas- 
ing source of agitation, and their power to carry 
out so drastic a measure as the one intended 
is proof of the growth which had been silently 
going on in their party. 

The government was given discretionary 
power to expel from the country all actual 
claimants to the throne of France, with their 
direct heirs. 

The Count of Paris and his son, the Duke of 
Orleans, Prince Napoleon and his son, Prince 
Victor, were accordingly banished by presiden- 
tial decree, in June, 1886. And when the Duke 
of Aumale violently protested, he too was sent 
into banishment. 

In 1887 M. Grevy was compelled to resign,, 
on account of an attempt to shield his son-in- 
law, who was accused of selling decorations, 
lucrative appointments, and contracts. M. 
Sadi-Carnot, the grandson of the Minister of 
War of the same name, who organized the 
armies at the revolutionary period, was a re- 


publican of integrity and distinction, and was 
elected by the combined votes of radicals and 

Another crisis was at hand a crisis difficult 
to explain because of the difficulty in under- 
standing it. 

The extraordinary popularity of General 
Boulanger, Minister of War, a military hero 
who had never held an important command, 
nor been the hero of a single military exploit, 
seems to present a subject for students of 
psychological problems; but his name became 
the rallying-point for all the malcontents in both 
parties. A talent for political intrigue in this 
popular hero made it appear at one time as if 
he might really be moving on a path leading 
to a military dictatorship. 

The firmness of the government in dealing 
with what seemed a serious crisis, was followed 
by the swift collapse of the whole movement, 
and when Boulanger was summoned before the 
High Court of Justice upon the charge of in- 
citing a revolution, he fled from the country, 
and the incident was closed. 

In one important respect the Third Republic 
differs from the two preceding it. A consti- 


tution had hitherto been supposed to be the 
indispensable starting-point in the formation 
of a government. No country had been so 
prolific in constitutions as France, which, since 
1790, is said to have had no less than seventeen ; 
while England, since her Magna Charta made 
her free in 1215, had had none at all. 

An eloquent and definite statement of the 
rights of a people once seemed as indispensable 
to a form of government as a creed to a relig- 
ious faith. Perhaps the world, as it grows 
wiser, is less inclined to definite statements 
upon many subjects! Our own Constitution, 
probably the most elastic and wisest instru- 
ment of the kind ever created, has in a century 
required sixteen amendments to adapt it to 
changing conditions. 

What is known in France as the Constitu- 
tion of 1875, i s > * n ^ ac ^> a ser * es f legislative 
enactments passed within certain periods of 
time ; these, as in England, serving as a substi- 
tute for a Constitution framed like our own. 

The French may have done wisely in trying 
the English method of substituting a body of 
laws, the growth of necessity, for a written 
constitution. But this system, reached in Eng- 


land through the slowly moving centuries, was 
adopted in France, not with deliberate purpose 
at first, but in order to avoid the clashing of 
opposing views among the group of men in 
charge of the republic in its inception; men 
who, while ruling under the name of a republic, 
really at heart disliked it, and were, in fact, 
only enduring it as a temporary expedient on 
the road to something better. And so the re- 
public drifted. There are times when it is well 
to drift; and in this case it has proved most 

Not alone the rulers, but the nation itself, 
was in doubt as to the sort of government it 
wanted, or how to attain it after it knew. It 
was experimenting with that most difficult of 
arts, the art of governing. An art which Eng- 
land had been centuries in learning, how could 
France be expected to master in a decade? 
And when we consider the conditions and the 
elements with which this inexperience was deal- 
ing, the dangerous element at the top and the 
other dangerous element beneath the surface, 
the ambitions of the princes, and the volcanic 
fires in the lowest class ; and when we think of 
the waiting nation, hoping, fearing, expecting 


so much, with a tremendous war indemnity to 
be paid, while their hearts were heavy over the 
loss of two provinces ; when we recall all this, 
we wonder, not that they made mistakes and 
accomplished so little, but that the government 
moved on, day by day, step by step, calmly 
meeting crises from reactionaries or from radi- 
cals, until the confidence of the world was won, 
and the stability of republican France as- 

From 1893 to *S96 was a period of colonial 
expansion for France. The Kingdom of Da- 
homey in Africa was proclaimed a French pro- 
tectorate. Madagascar was subjugated, and in 
1895 the Province of Hiang-Hung was ceded 
by China. 

In the year 1894 Sadi-Carnot was assassi- 
nated in the streets of Lyons by an anarchist, 
and M. Faure succeeded to the presidency. 

A political alliance between France and Rus- 
sia was formed at this time. It was also dur- 
ing the presidency of M. Faure that the agi- 
tation commenced in consequence of what is 
known as the Affaire Dreyfus. 

Captain Alfred Dreyfus, an Alsatian and an 
artillery officer upon the general staff, w r as ac~ 


cused of betraying military secrets to a foreign 
power (Germany). He was tried by court- 
martial, convicted, sentenced to be publicly de- 
graded, having all the insignia of rank torn 
from him, then to suffer perpetual solitary im- 
prisonment on the Isle du Diable, off the coast 
of French Guiana. 

The life of the French Republic was threat- 
ened by the profound agitation following this 
sentence, in which the entire civilized world 
joined; the impression prevailing that a pun- 
ishment of almost unparalleled severity was 
being inflicted upon a man whose guilt had 
not been proven. 

It was the general belief that the bitter en- 
mity of the French army staff was on account 
of the Semitic origin of the accused officer, 
and that his being an Alsatian opened an easy 
path to the accusation of treasonable acts with 

The trial of Captain Dreyfus was conducted 
with closed doors, and the sentence was rigor- 
ously carried out. 

As time passed, the agitation became so pro- 
found, and the public demand for a revision of 
the case so imperative, that the French 


of appeal finally took the matter under consid- 

The ground upon which this revision was 
claimed related to an alleged confession and to 
the authorship of the bordereau, the document 
which had been instrumental in procuring a 
conviction. Upon these grounds it was claimed 
that the judgment pronounced in December, 
1894, should be annulled. 

The court was compelled to yield, and an 
order was issued for a second trial a trial 
which resulted in revelations so damaging to 
the heads of the French army that a revolu- 
tion seemed imminent. 

The accused man, wrecked by the five years 
on the Isle du Diable, again appeared before 
his accusers in the military court at Rennes. 
His leading counsel, Labori, was shot while 
conducting his case, but, as it proved, not fa- 
tally. The conduct of the trial was such that 
the dark secrets of this sinister affair were 
never brought from their murky depths. And 
with neither the guilt nor the innocence of 
the victim proven, the amazing verdict was 
rendered, " Guilty, with extenuating circum- 


Such was the verdict of the French military 
court. That of public opinion was different. 
It was the unanimous belief among other na- 
tions that the case against this unfortunate 
man had completely collapsed. But in order to 
protect the French army from the disgrace 
which was inseparable from a vindication of 
Dreyfus, he must be sacrificed. 

The sentence pronounced at the conclusion 
of the second trial was imprisonment in a 
French fortress for ten years. 

This sentence was remitted by President 
Loubet; and, with the brand of two convic- 
tions and the memory of his " degradation " 
and of Devil's Island burned deep into his soul., 
a broken man was sent forth free. 

Not the least dramatic incident in this affair 
was the impassioned championship of M. Zola, 
the great novelist, who hurled defamatory 
charges at the court, in the hope of being placed 
under arrest for libel, and thus be given oppor- 
tunity to establish facts repressed by the mili- 
tary court. By the French law, the accused 
must justify his defamatory words, and this 
was the opportunity sought. 

The heroic effort was not in vain. Zola was 


found guilty and sentenced to a year's Impris- 
onment, which he avoided by going into exile. 
But light had been thrown upon the " Affaire. 99 
And he was content. 

Upon the sudden death of M. Faure in 1899, 
Emile Loubet, a lawyer of national reputation, 
was chosen to succeed him, and his adminis- 
tration commenced while this storm was reach- 
ing its final culmination. 

With the release of Captain Dreyfus the 
agitation subsided. But before very long an- 
other storm-cloud appeared. 

A conflict between clericalism and the Gov- 
ernment of France is not a new thing. Indeed, 
it w r as at its height as long ago as the thirteenth 
century, when Philip IV. and Pope Boniface 
had their little unpleasantness, resulting in 
Philip's taking the popes into his own keeping 
at Avignon, and in the issuance of a " Prag- 
matic Sanction," which defended France from 
papal encroachments. 

The old conflict is still going on, and will 
continue until the last frail thread uniting 
Church and State is severed. 

The particular contention which agitates 
France to-day, inaugurated by the late Minis- 


ter Waldeck-Rousseau, and continued by his 
successor, M. Combes, had its origin in an act 
called the " Law of Associations/' the purpose 
of which was to restrict the political power of 
the Church by means of the suppression of re- 
ligious orders of men and women upon the soil 
of France. 

This was considered an act of extreme op- 
pression and tyranny on the one side, and as a 
measure essential to the safety of the republic 
on the other. 

In support of their contention the republican 
party claimed that the French clergy had al- 
ways been in alliance with every reactionary 
movement, and that every agitation and in- 
trigue against the life of the Third Republic 
had had clericalism as its origin and disturbing 
cause. Hence, the expulsion of the religious 
orders was declared to be essential to the safety 
of the republic. 

But the Law of Associations was only pre- 
liminary to the real end in view, which was 
accomplished in December, 1905, when a bill 
providing for the actual separation of Church 
and State was passed by the French Senate. 
There was a time when a measure so revolu- 


tionary would have opened the flood-gates o 
passion, and let loose torrents of invective; 
and the calmness with which it was debated 
in the French Parliament makes it manifest 
that the highest intelligence of the nation had 
become convinced of its necessity. The bill 
provides for the transfer to the government 
of all church properties. This change of own- 
ership necessitated the taking of inventories 
in the churches, which many simple and de- 
vout people, incapable of understanding its 
political meaning, believed was a religious per- 
secution, and resisted by force. The bill re- 
cently passed is aimed not at the Church, but at 
" Clericalism/' a powerful element within the 
Church, which has been determined to make it 
a political as well as a spiritual power. With 
the passage of this bill there no longer exists 
the opportunity for political and ecclesiastical 
intrigues, which have made the Church a 
hatching-ground for aristocratic conspiracies. 
The severance now accomplished is not com- 
plete as with us. Money will still be appro- 
priated from the public treasury for the main- 
tenance of churches in France. But the power 
derived from the ownership of valuable estates 


is no longer in the hands of men in sympathy 
with the enemies of the existing form of gov- 

Another matter which for a time seemed to 
threaten the peace of France has been happily 
adjusted. At an international conference held 
at Algeciras, for the purpose of considering 
the demoralized conditions existing in the 
State of Morocco, France and Germany came 
so sharply in collision that serious consequences 
seemed imminent, consequences which might 
even involve all of Europe. 

France, with her territory adjoining the dis- 
turbed state, and her long Algerian coast-line 
to protect, naturally felt that she was entitled 
to special recognition; while Germany, having 
invited the conference, claimed a position of 
leadership. It was over the special privileges 
desired by each that the tension between these 
two states became so acute; and finally the 
one question before the conference was whether 
France or Germany should be the custodian of 
Morocco, insure the safety of its foreign popu- 
lation, have charge of its finances, and be 
responsible for the policing of its coast Of 
course the nation assigned to this duty would 


hold the predominant influence in North Af- 
rican affairs, and it was this large stake 
which gave such intensity to the game. The 
final award was given to France, and Germany, 
deeply aggrieved but with commendable self- 
control, has accepted the decision. 

The elections recently held in France have 
afforded an opportunity to discover the senti- 
ment of the nation concerning the policies, 
radical and almost revolutionary, which have 
made the concluding days of M. Loubet's in- 
cumbency an epoch in the life of France. The 
result has been an overwhelming vote of ap- 
proval. In M. Fallieres, who has been elected 
to the presidency, there is found a man even 
more representative of a new France than was 
his predecessor. A man of the people ? the 
grandson of a blacksmith, a lawyer by profes- 
sion, M. Fallieres has been identified with 
every important movement since he was first 
elected Deputy in 1876; has been eight times 
Minister; was President of the Senate during 
the seven years of President Loubefs term of 
office; and January 17, 1906, was elected to 
the highest position in the state. The appoint- 
ment of M. Sarrien, with his well-known syra- 


pathies, to the office of Prime Minister, sets 
at rest any doubt as to the policy initiated by 
M. Waldedc-Rousseau, and consummated by 
M. Combes. 

With each succeeding administration France 
has gained in strength and stability, and in the 
self-control and calmness which make for both. 
The government and the people have learned 
that the spasmodic way is not a wise and effec- 
tual way. 

The monarchist party has disappeared as a 
serious political factor. There is peace, ex- 
ternal and internal And there is prosper- 
ity that surest guarantee of a continued 

One source of the phenomenal prosperity of 
France in this trying period since 1871 has 
been her mastery in the art of beauty. Leading 
the world as she does in this, her art products 
are sought by every land and every people. 
The nations must and will have them ; and so, 
with an assured market, her industries prosper, 
and there is content in the cottage and wealth 
in the country at large. 

What a change from the time less than four 
decades ago, when, with military pride hum- 


bled in the dust, with national pride wounded 
by the loss of two provinces, and loaded down 
with an immense war indemnity, the people set 
about the task of rehabilitation ! And in what 
an incredibly short time the galling debt had 
been paid, financial prosperity and political 
strength restored. 

For thirty-four years the republic has ex- 
isted. Communistic fires, always smouldering, 
have again and again burst forth dema- 
gogues, fanatics, and those creatures for whom 
there is no place in organized society, whose ele- 
ment is chaos, standing ready to fan the flames 
of revolt: with Orleanist, Bonapartist, Bour- 
bon, ever on the alert, watching for opportunity 
to slip in through the open door of revolution. 

Phlegmatic Teutons and slow-moving An- 
glo-Saxons look in bewilderment at a nation 
which has had seven political revolutions in 
a hundred years ! 

But France, complex, mobile, changeful as 
the sea, in riotous enjoyment of h^r new-found 
liberties, casts off a form of government as 
she would an ill-fitting garment. She knows 
the value of tranquillity she had it for one 
thousand years! The people, who have only 


breathed the tipper air for a century the peo- 
ple, who were stifled under feudalism, stamped 
upon by Valois kings, riveted down by Riche- 
lieu, then prodded, outraged, and starved by 
Bourbons, have become a great nation. Many- 
sided, resourceful, gifted, it matters not 
whether they have called the head of their 
government consul, emperor, king, or presi- 
dent. They are a race of freemen, who can 
never again be enslaved by tyrannous system. 

There may be in store for France new revo- 
lutions and fresh overturnings. Not anchored, 
as is England, in an historic past which she 
reveres, and with a singularly gifted and emo- 
tional people who are the sport of the cur- 
rent of the hour, who can predict her future! 
But whatever that future may be, no American 
can be indifferent to the fate of a nation to 
whom we owe so much. Nor can we ever 
forget that in the hour of our direst extremity, 
and regardless of cost to herself, she helped us 
to establish our liberties, and to take our place 
among the great nations of the earth. 



A. D. 

Clovis 496 

Thierry, Clodomir, Clothaire, CMIdebert 51- 


Charibert, Gontran, Chilperic, Sigheben 


Theodebert, Thierry II., Clothaire III. 



Dagobert 628 

Clovis II., Sigheben II 638 

Clothaire III., Chilperic II 656 

Thierry III., Dagobert II 673 

Clovis III 690 

Childebert III 695 

Dagobert III 7 11 

Chilperic III 7* 6 

Thierry IV 7 2 

Chilperic IV. 74* 


Pepin 75 2 

Charlemagne 7 6S 

Louis (The Debonnaire) 814 


Charles (The Bald) ^43 

Louis (The Stammerer) 8 77 



A. D. 

Louis III. and Carloman ....... 879 

Charles (The Fat) 884 

Hugh 887 

Charles (The Simple) 898 

Raoul 923 

Louis IV 936 

Lothaire 954 

Louis V. . . 986 


Hugh Capet 987 

Robert 996 

Henry I IO 3i 

Philip 1 1060 

Louis VI. (The Fat) 1108 

Louis VII. (The Young) 1137 

Philip II. (Philip Augustus) 1180 

Louis VIII 1223 

Louis IX. (The Saint) 1226 

Philip III. (The Hardy) 1270 

Philip IV. (The Handsome) 1285 

Louis X 1314 

Philip V 1316 

Charles IV. (The Handsome) 1322 


Philip VI. (de Valois) 1328 

John (The Pious) I 35 

Charles V 1364 

Charles VI 1380 

Charles VII 1422 

Louis XI 1461 

Charles VIII 1483 

Louis XII 1498 


A. D. 

Francis 1 1515 

Henry' II 1547 

Francis II I 559 

Charles IX 1560 

Henry III. ... , 1574 


Henry IV 1589 

Louis XIII - 1610 

Louis XIV. 1643 

Louis XV 17*5 

Louis XVI 1774 



Napoleon Bonaparte 1804 


Louis XVIII 1814 

Charles X 1824 


Louis Philippe 2830 



Louis Napoleon I ^5 2 



Adolphe Thiers 2871 

Marshal MacMahon I ^73 

Jules Grevy l8 79 

Sadi-Carnot .......-- I 8 7 

Francois Felix Faure *|94 

Emile Loubet I5 9f 

Armand Failieres - - *9O 6 


Abelard, 68, 69 
Academy, The French, 138 
African, 261 
Agincourt, Battle of, 89 
Albigensian War, 66 
Alexander, Emperor of Russia, 

Algeria, 246 
Algeciras, 260 
Alsace, 144, 240 
America, 158, 164-167, 175, 

176, 183, 196, 197, 209, 236 
Anglo-Saxons, 263 
Angouleme, Duchesse d', 216 
Anne of Austria, 142, 143 
Assembly, National, 181-185, 

187-190, 230, 240, 242, 244 
Associations, Law of, 258 
Attila, 22 

Augsburg, League of, 154 
Aurnale, Duke of, 249 
Aurelius, Marcus, 14, 18, 20 
Austrasia, 31 
Austria, 142, 162, 198, 199, 202, 

203, 204,206, 211, 230, 233, 

234, 237, 238 

Babylonian Captivity, 77 
Bastille, The, 97, 141, 146, 184, 


Bayard, Chevalier, 105 
Beauharnais, Eugene, 212 
Beauharnais, Hortense, 212, 

Beauharnais, Josephine, 207, 

208, 213 

Bismarck, 238, 240 
Black Prince, 82-84 
Blanche of Castile, 69, 70, 73 
Blenheim, Battle of, 156 
Bliicher, 219 
Bonaparte, Jerome, 212 
Bonaparte, Joseph, 212 
Bonaparte, Louis, 212, 229 
Bonaparte, Napoleon, 171, 172, 

203-215, 218-220, 224 
Bonapartists, 244, 246, 263 
Boulanger, General, 250 
Bourbon, Antony de, ii6-nS 
Bourbons, 116-118, 129, 244, 

263, 264 

Bourgeoisie, Si, 100 
1 Bretigny, Treaty of, 83 



Britain, 2 

Bur f esses j 58 

Burgundy, Duke of, 85-89, 97, 


Caesar, Julius, 10-12, 15 

Calais, 79 

Campo Formio, Treaty of, 205, 


Capet, Hugh, 48 
Carlovingian Kings, 31-48 
Carnot, 249, 253 
Chalons, Battle of, 22 
Chambord, Count of, 244, 245, 


Charlemagne, 36, 45 
Charles Mattel, 31, 34 
Charles V, 83-85 
Charles VI, 85-88 
Charles VII, 90-96, 98 
Charles VIII, 101-104 
Charles IX, 1 19, 128 
Charles X, 172, 221, 222, 223 
Christianity, 14-23, 32-34, 49- 


Church and State, 258 
Cinq Mars, 141 
Clericalism, 258, 259 
Clovis, 10, 24-27, 29 
Cochin-China, War with, 248 
Colbert, 146, 148, 152 
Coligny, Admiral, 115-124 
Combes, 258, 262 
Committee of Public Safety, 

191, 199 
Commune, The, 242, 243 

Conciergerie, 191, 193, 199 
Concini, 135, 136 
Conde, 144, 148 
Consulate, 208-210 
Corday, Charlotte, 191, 192 
Crecy, Battle of, 79 
Crimean War, 232 
Crusades, 42, 59-61, 63, 68, 73, 

Dahomey, 253 
Danton, 191, 200 
Dauphin, So 

Desmoulins, Camille, 184 
Directory, 203, 206-208 
Donation of Pep-in, 34 
Drey/us, Affaire, 253-258 
Dreyfus, Alfred, 253, 257 
Druidism, 14, 20 
Dumouriez, 198, 199 

Edward III of England, 79, 82 

Egypt, 206, 207, 247 

Elba, 215 

Elizabeth, Princess, 189, 195, 


Enghien, Duke d', 209 
England, 41, 53, 61-64, 79, 82, 

no, in, 154, 164, 165, 175, 

176, 202, 203, 206, 209, 213, 
219, 22O, 241, 247, 251 

Eugenie, Empress, 235, 238, 

Fallieres, 261 
Faure, 253, 257 



Feudal System, 42, 44~46> 85, 


Flanders, 108, 149 
Fontenay, Battle of, 40 
Fouquet, 147 
Fouquier-Tinville, 191 
Francis I, 106-112 
Francis II, 116 
Francis Joseph, 211, 213 
Franks, 23 
Freemen, 57 
French Parliament, 269 
French Senate, 258 
Fronde, 143 

Galigai, Eleonora, 135-137 

Galiicia, 7 

Garnbetta, 245-247 

Gaul, 2-4, n, 24 

Gauls. 4 

Genevieve, 23 

Germany, 40, 41, icS, in, 155? 

156, 210, 211, 212, 214, 238- 

Girondists, 187-189, 193, 197- 


Godfrey of Boulogne, 60 
Goths, 8, 12, 22, 23 
Greece, 3, 7 
Grevy, 247-249 
Guesclin, Bertrand du, 83, 84 
Guise, Duke of, 115-129 
Gustavus Adolphus, 138, 142 

Hapsburgs, 133, 142, 146, I5 S > 

Henry II, 115, 116 
Henry III, 128, 129 
Henry (IV) of Navarre, 120, 

121, 123, 128-134 

Henry V of England, 89, 90 
Holland, 150, 151, 153, 212 
Holy Roman Empire, 39, 108, 

133, 211 

Huguenots, 117, 118, 120-131, 

137, 141, 152, 153 

Huns, 22 

Indemnity, 253 
Irenseus, 14 
I Italy, 41, 74, 101-103, 105, 106, 

| 204-206 3 212, 230, 233-235 


i Jacobins, 187-189, 199 
| Jena, Battle of, 211 
! Joan of Arc, 91-95 
John, King, 80-83 

' : Kelts, 2-4, 12 
Knights Templar, 77, 189 
Kyinrians, 7 

] Lafayette, Marquis de, 183, 

j 185,187,188,222 

i Lamartine, 225 

: La Rochelle, Siege of, 141 

| Latin Quarter, 69 

i La^v, John, 161 

| Legitimists, 244, 248 

; Leipsic, Battle of, 215 

'i Lombards, 34, 38 

: Lorraine, 240 



Lothaire, 40 

Loubet, Emile, 256, 257, 261 

Louis the Debonnaire, 40 

Louis VI, 58, 59 

Louis VII, 57, 61, 62 

Louis VIII, 69 

Louis IX, 69-73 

Louis XI, 96, 98, 101 

Louis XII, 104, 105 

Louis XIII, 135, 136, 139-142, 


Louis XIV, 143, 145-159) 246 
Louis XV, 159-173, 181 
Louis XVI, 133, 172, 174, 175, 

177-190, 197, 216 
Louis XVIII, 172, 197, 208, 

2l6-2l8, 220, 221 

Louis Philippe, 172, 198, 199, 

222-226, 247 
Louisiana, 209 
Louvois, 148 
Lutetia, 13 
Luynes, Albert de, 136 

MacMahon, Marshal, 243, 247 
Madagascar, 253 
Magenta, Battle of, 233 
Mahometanism, 32-34 
Maire du Palais, 27, 31 
Marat, 184, 191, 192 
Maria Louisa, 214, 215 
Maria Theresa, Empress of 

Austria, 161 
Marie Antoinette, 164, 172, 174, 

186, 193-105, 197 
Marignano, Battle of, 106 

Massillia, 5 

Mazarin, Cardinal, 143, 144, 


Medici, Catharine de j , H5-I2& 
Medici, Marie de', 134, 135, 


Meroveus, 23, 24 
Merovingian Kings, 23-34, 46, 


Metz, Surrender of, 239 
Mexico, 236, 237 
Mirabeau, 182, 183 
Moltke, 239, 240 
Monarchists, 262 
Monroe Doctrine, 236, 237 
Morocco, 260 
Murat, 212 

Nantes, Edict of, 131, 133, 141, 

146, 152, 158 
Napoleon Bonaparte, 171, 172, 

203-215, 218-220, 224 
Napoleon (III), Louis, 226, 

227, 229-239, 241 
Napoleon, Prince, 246, 248, 


Necker, 178 
Neustria, 31 
Ney, Marshal, 218, 220 
Normandy, 47, 53, 54, 62, 64, 


Normans, 44, 47 
Northmen, 42, 44, 45, 47, 48, 

Nymwegen, Peace of, 149, 151 



Orleanists, 244, 248, 263 
Orleans, Duke of, 86-89, 105, 

141, 159, 172, 182, 183, 222, 


Paris, Count of, 244, 245, 248, 


Paris, Siege of, 240, 242, 243 
Pepin, 31, 34,35>4S 
Peter the Hermit, 59, 60 
Philip Augustus, 62-67 
Philip III, 75 
Philip IV, 75-78 
Philip VI, 78 
Philippe Egalite, 184, 198, 199, 


Poitiers, Battle of, 82 

Pope, The, 34, 35> 37~39> 49, 

59, 60, 65, 75-77; IC 7> II 3 3 

Pragmatic Sanction, 107, 162 
Prince Imperial, 244, 246 
Protestantism, in, 112-114, 

138, 142, 153. 158. 238 
Provence, 5, 65, 66, 70 
Prussia, 142, 155, 203, 211, 237 

Ravaillac, 134 

Raymond VII of Toulouse, 65, 
66, 70 

Reformation, The, in, 113 
Republic, Second, 225-231 
.Republic, Third, 242 et seq. 
Revolution, French, 166, 167, 

Revolutionary Tribunal, 189, 


Rheinbund, 211 

Richelieu, Cardinal, 137-143, 

167, 263 

Robert the Strong, 48, 49 
Robespierre, 183, 191, 200 
Rois Faineants, 29, 30, 47 
Romans, 5-7 
Rome, 5-8, 10-14 
Rousseau, 170, 171 
Russia, 41, 203, 213, 214, 232, 

2 53 
Ryswick, Treaty of, 149 

Sadi-Camot, 249, 253 

St. Bartholomew, Massacre of, 

St. Helena, 220 
Salic Law, 27, 78, 79, 129, 146, 


Sarrien, 261 
Sedan, Battle of, 240 
Serfs, 46, 57 
Simon, 195 

Solferino, Battle of, 234 
Spain, 41, 69, 105, 108, 122, 

123, 133, 142, 146, I49> I5 8 

165, 2C2, 2C9, 212, 221, 


Spanish Succession, War of the, 

States-General, 76, Si, 82, 84, 

i33 i35 J 79 

Stuart, Marie, 115, 116, nS 



Sully, Duke of, 132, 133 
Swiss Guard, iSS 

Talleyrand, 218 

Temple, The, 189, 195 

Teutons, 263 

Thiers, 228, 242, 243, 244 

Third Republic, 258 

Tiers Etat, 56, 76, 82, 133, 179, 

181, 183 

Tilsit, Peace of 212 
Toulouse, 65, 66, 70 
Tours, Battle of, 34 
Troves, Treaty of, 89 
"Truce of God," 51, 60 
Turenne, 144, 148 
Turgot : 177, 178 

Utrecht, Treaty of, 149 

Valois, 264 

Varennes, 188 

Verdun, Treaty of, 40, 41 

Versailles, 147, 152, 156, 163, 

165, 178, 182, 186, 187, 235, 

240, 243 

Villafranca, Peace of, 234 
Visigoths, 26 
Voltaire, 162, 169 

Waldeck -Rousseau, 258, 262 
Waterloo, Battle of, 219 
Wellington, Duke of, 219 
William, Duke of Normandy, 

Williams, Eleazer, 196 

Zola, 257